The Scottish National Surfing Championships took place on the last weekend of March 2014. As forecast the swell would pulse on the Friday and become easing into the Saturday therefore there was only a 1 day window to run the contest. Early heats were held in small, inconsistent yet perfectly shaped Thurso-East. The conditions proved fun for competition surfing with some tubes and high scores going down, but heat strategy was key with few set waves per heat. Early rounds and other divisions were completed and the culmination of the event was held at the Brimms Bowl with the Open Semis and Finals.
The longboard final was held on shoulder high mid to low tide Thurso-East. This year has had the largest turnout of longboarders for some time and some of the young guns such as Greg Millar and Max Hook were standouts in the category. Greg showed power and control in his semi final and was keen to make a tuberide on his 9'4"; had he exited one he may have caused some upsets. Ian Masson and Sam Christopherson as per usual were silky smooth combining traditional and modern longboarding on the fast glassy faces, and Max Hook's wave choice was impeccable. The final would have a short flurry of waves at the beginning and would slow down as the kelp became more and more exposed towards the end of the final. Fortunately for me the judges liked the top to bottom style of longboarding I was attempting and I had kept busy during the small flurry of waves at the beginning. It was a hard fought final against the cross stepping skills of Sam and Masson. I caught Masson off guard to snag which was perhaps the winning wave of the final leaving Ian perhaps a 'keeper' short.
1st Mark Boyd
2nd Sam Christopherson
3rd Max Hook
4th Ian Masson
The tide was still a little lower than ideal for the bowl for the semi finals and turns were key to progress. My semi final against Hamper and Chris Noble was a hard fought victory, with everyone posting reasonable scores. I snagged a wally one in the last minute to take out the heat, Chris narrowly defeated Hamper to progress to the final.
The final was a different story - the Bowl was pumping to say the least. Mark 'Scratch' Cameron opted for turns and snaps, with impeccable timing held the lead for the majority of the heat, throwing buckets on each well executed manoeuvre. Ian Masson as always consistently posted scores to the board whilst Chris Noble had only one 'keeper' on the board well into the heat which came from a snap in the pocket. My gameplan was to go all out and try to win in style by making the most of the tubing conditions on offer. Unfortunately it (again) wasn't to be my year and despite seeing the exit on a couple of deep tubes I was either clipped or pinched on each. I tried to get a couple scores by doing turns towards the end of the heat but on one particular wave Scratch was caught inside right where I needed to set my line. I managed one turn on a wave near the end but that alone wouldn't be enough to take the win without having exited one of the bowling backdoor tubes I so eagerly had been attempting. 40 seconds from the end of the heat Chris Noble would take the victory by snagging a wally wave, powering through a great setup snap and being drained along the inside section of the Bowl - not the usual tube section but this man seems to find tubes anywhere leaving us mere mortals scratching our heads. It seemed like it would have been Scratches final but full credit to Chris Noble for taking out the victory again and keeping his cool and executing that final wave at such a critical stage in the heat - sign of a true champ.
1st Chris Noble
2nd Mark Cameron
3rd Mark Boyd
4th Ian Masson
Prizegiving - 3rd Place in the Open for the 6th time, 1st place in the Longboards, retaining the Longboard title for the 4th year running