Chris Noble - Scottish Surf Champion
One of our closest friends Chris Noble took home the winning place at last weekends Scottish Surf Championships!
We managed to catch up this week to get his tale of events and how it all went down...
The SSF Scottish national championships were held last weekend in Thurso, with a reasonable chart forecast the event was given the go ahead. Friday evening saw the swell holding and giving hope that there would be a co testable wave at Thurso East in the morning rather than what could have been quite unruly almost out of control brimms ness bowl.
So the call was made for a 5am check with a view to start the event at 6am wherever the swell was best. Turns out that there were some nice head high sets at Thurso and I was up for the first heat of the day! This probably sounds worse than it was as the swell was forecast to drop throughout the day and the tide was about as good as it was going to get for the day. As the contest progressed there were some good heats held in the morning, with the tide and swell dropping the decision was to call a halt to the open semis and senior final and hold out for brimms bowl later in the evening when the tide returned.
So it was off home for some down time, lunch and a heat up was the call.
4pm we headed out to brimms with the tide still being too low the surfers in the first heat pushed back against the start time of 4:30 as the tide was still too low but the contest director was worried about running out of light as there was still 2 hours of competition left to run, first semi in the water at 5 was the agreement.
With the tide still being slightly low I was happy just to scrape through the semi against two Thurso locals, Mark Boyd and Hamper MacLeod the hardest heat so far but it was done, finals again. The pressures off, time to have fun. As the second semi and senior finals were ran the conditions were improving almost with every wave coming through. The stage was set, four of Scotland's best surfers in one of the best waves in Scotland.
The final got under way at 6:30 as the sun was setting, I think everyone had a wave quickly. As I was paddling back out I saw Mark (scratch) Cameron devastate his first wave, two tight tail slides sending spray high in the sky. In my mind I was settled, he was taking the trophy home, there was still about 27 minutes left in the heat and finding a backup wave would be easy.
As the heat progressed I really started to feel my board under my feet and about halfway through had a pretty good wave with two turns, I was on the board, if I could just find a backup. Brimms bowl is a pretty intense tube when it's working well and the swell that evening was lining up excellently. I hung around in my usual takeoff spot but never really found what I was looking for. I had a wave at the end and scraped back out for the last minute in a hope that there might be one.
30 seconds to go, the end of the heat, flags are going down really soon, haven't done enough. Then here comes a nugget, behind the peak in a good position, if I can only catch it, paddling against Mark Boyd on my outside, I'm on. As I bottom turned I could see the whole wave walling up time for a turn to loose some speed and set up for the tube. Stalling and I'm in, sucky and glassy clean. A perfect round barrel, all I need to do now is ride out at the end, don't get clipped or fall. After what seemed like an eternity I was out, straighten out to the beach. It was good but still didn't know if it was enough. Stoked
That's the funny thing about contest surfing, 30 minutes of surfing decides who has bragging rites for the rest of the year. On any given day any one of the guys who were in the final with me surf just as good if not better than me, I claimed there was a lot of luck involved but then thought about it and decided that fortunate was a better word for it. Blessed with a good days surfing, great friends and rivalries, I was fortunate enough to come out on top this time!
Words: Chris Noble
Photos: Malcolm Anderson