Thurso East – Scotland 27th – 30th October
The Finals day of competition was heralded by jaw-dropping 6-8’ barrels as the UKPSA team pulled up to Thurso-east in the early morning, peering through the twilight scene, we immediately knew this would be an epic finale to 2016’s Thurso Super Surf Series #1 stop.
Re-commencing with the last outstanding heat of the Fistral Beach Under 18’s round:1 at 8am, saw Seth Morris take 1st place with two 4 point waves, joining the semi-finalists alongside Scottish junior Andrew Robertson who demonstrated a great consistency of 2 point rides before smashing out a solid 4.6 (highest wave of the heat) for his 2nd place.
The next heats paddling into the pumping swell, were the Semi-Finals of both; the Adams Surfboards Under 16’s & the Fistral Beach Under 18’s division, with the tide dropping back, Thurso-East put on an impressive display of natural force and our riders completed split barrel sections and negotiated its steep drops for our finalists to emerge from the pack – Bude’s Barnaby Cox, Patrick Langdon-Dark (Swansea), Sol Hawkins from Newquay & Kit Innes from Widemouth; all battled it out in the Adams Surfboards Under 16 Finals within high-fiving distance from the exposed reef as Kit Innes continued his winning form this season topping the win over Patrick Langdon-Dark.
Keeping his now “lucky” blue rash vest on, Kit Innes continued onto the Final of the Fistral Beach Under 18’s with Harry De Roth (St Ives), Logan Nicol from Wales & Andrew Robertson from St Andrews, Scotland. The Under 18’s lit up the Northern sky with plumes of spray as they attacked the line to gain the win, it was doubly impressive to see that these young athletes were pushing the boundaries so hard that fins were breaking free from the turns. But there can be only one overall victor and Harry De Roth takes the trophy with his easy and fluid style getting those vital points over 2nd place winner Kit Innes.
Elimination rounds for the Men’s Open were as exciting as anticipated with both Scottish and UK Pro Tour surfers giving the best displays of surfing skill imaginable on this quality wave, with long-drawn barrels, huge cutbacks and powerful attacks on the lip. It wasn’t long before the reef became home to a dedicated crowd cheering them on. Thurso local Mark Boyd showed the strength of local knowledge, making it through to the Finals on his home-turf alongside Jayce Robinson, Jobe Harriss & Reubyn Ash
The Women’s Open proceeded, being a straight 5 woman Final due to low entries able to make it up to The Highlands for this event, nevertheless spectators and judges were thrilled with the charismatic surfing of both Bude’s Emily Currie & Lucy Campbell from Woolacombe who traded one powerful wave after another in a run for the title, some excellent surfing was displayed from Thurso locals Shoana Blackadder and Iona McLachlan & The Vale’s Ffion Hughes but ultimately it was the perfected style and focused turns of Lucy Campbell that stole the show.
As always the ultimate showdown was saved to the last, and our Men’s Open Final did not disappoint with constant exchanges of high scoring rides being passed between our competitors in a friendly war fuelled by the stoke of having such an outstanding wave to compete on. All assembled witnessed some huge dedicated drops from local Mark Boyd, and bottom turns deeper than the reef itself from Jobe Harriss, whilst Jayce Robinson toyed with the liquid canvas in his smooth arcs across its face. In the end, however it was the fountain of energy and power that is Reubyn Ash taking his 2nd Thurso Open Champion title in a row to complete The UKPSA Thurso Surf Festival 2016.
Presentations were held in Thurso harbour’s main car park overlooking the pumping waves of “S-pipe” (another fantastic reef break alongside Thurso-East) with event sponsors; Nick Briant from Fistral Beach, Newquay & Lorna McBreen from SSE, presenting the awards to our finalists. In support of Thurso’s local surfing community, a few of the UK Pro Surf Tour competitors also ended the day by spending some time with the new Thurso Surf School groms, taking them out into the line-up and talking about surf travel, competition & passing on their knowledge to Scotland’s upcoming talents.
Adams Surfboards Under 16 Champion
Fistral Beach Under 18 Champion
Harry De Roth
Women’s Open Champion
2016 Open Champion
The UKPSA would like to thank The Highland Council for supporting another fantastic year of The Thurso Surf Festival & The Scottish Surfing Federation for their support in enabling us to utilise this world-class break for our event.
We would also like to thank our event sponsors; SSE, Adams Surfboards, Fistral Beach Newquay & UK Pro Surf Tour sponsor Korev Lager whose ongoing support enables us to continue producing the UK’s surfing champions & The Christian Surfers UK for providing all of our team and competitors nourished throughout those brisk Scottish mornings & Ground Swell CIC for providing transportation and opportunities for our young, upcoming competitors.
Feature Image credits: Andy Holter from Christian Surfers UK
Presentation Images: David Renyard from Christian Surfers UK
For further information, please visit: www.ukprosurf.com,