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Funding helps put event on crest of a wave

Press release   •   Feb 19, 2019 13:07 GMT

Craig Sutherland (2018 Masters Champion) catches a wave. Credit: Andre Silva.

A competition which brings surfers from across Scotland to compete for a national title has been successful in securing funding from EventScotland’s National Programme Fund.

The Scottish National Surfing Championships, which take place from 19 - 22 April in Thurso, aim to bring surfers from across Scotland together to compete for the national title in the following divisions: U14, U16, U18 Boys, U18 Girls, Masters (35+) Open Men, Open Women and Longboards.

EventScotland’s National Programme Fund has given £5,000 to the event for the first time, to help implement their priority system and event delivery costs.

The first ever Scottish National Surfing Championships was held in 1973 in Bettyhill and was won by Bill Batten, who presented the Open Men's trophy at the 2018 event.

This event, which could attract up to 1,000 spectators and around 55 Scottish competitors, is also used to select the Scottish national squad and provides a great spectacle of the best Scottish surfers on the some of the best waves in Europe.

This competition is now more important than ever, as, in 2016, the member nations of the Olympic Movement voted in favour of the inclusion of surfing in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. Surfing was one of five new sports to be included and provides a platform for British surfing to excel on the world stage.

The championships often take place at the better-known surfing locations of Thurso East or Brimms Ness, along the north coast of Caithness, but the best conditions for last year’s competition were to be found at Sinclair’s Bay, on the east coast.

Last year’s Men’s Open winner was Thurso-based Mark Boyd – one of Scotland’s best competitive surfers; and Phoebe Strachan scooped the Women’s Open title.

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director for the Highlands, Chris Taylor, said: “This is a popular competition on the Scottish surfing calendar and great opportunity for people to experience this exciting sport ahead of its debut at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.

“I am delighted the championships have been awarded funding to help make this event as successful as possible, as it is so important for the Highlands’ identity as a fantastic location for hosting all sorts of watersports events.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and our National programme plays a crucial role, not only in maintaining our vibrant and diverse portfolio but in developing domestic tourism and generating beneficial impacts to all areas of the country.”

Chris Clarke, of the North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) and contest director for the Scottish Surfing Federation (SSF) at the Scottish Nationals said: "The North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) look forward to once again hosting the biggest event on the Scottish Surfing Federation calendar, at Scotland's premier reef break Thurso-East and welcoming Scotland's best surfers back to Caithness.”

National programme funding supports the strategic development of events which occur outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the aim of driving domestic tourism, delivering economic impact for local communities and generating media profile for Scotland.

Building upon existing event activities, extending marketing reach and enhancing the on-site food and drink offer are just some of the ways National programme funds are often put to use.

For more information about the championships, visit www.thessf.com

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