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North coast surfer to captain junior squad in world championships at Brazil

By John Davidson

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Craig McLachlan in action during the Scottish championships. Picture: James Gunn
Craig McLachlan in action during the Scottish championships. Picture: James Gunn

A champion surfer from Murkle is preparing to lead the Scottish junior surfing team on the biggest stage in the world.

Craig McLachlan, who is the Scottish national surfing champion, will captain the junior squad at the World Junior Surfing Championships in Brazil later this year.

The Thurso-based North Shore Surf Club member, who is also the reigning British and Scottish under-18 boys' champion, will be one of nine talented youngsters from across Scotland who will be taking part in the competition at Rio de Janeiro.

Fellow club member Olivia Mackay (16), from Portskerra, will also compete at under-16 and under-18 level.

McLachlan will compete in the under-18 category in Brazil.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to travelling to such a cool place. On top of that, getting to represent and compete for my country is always a pleasure.”

The world championships take place from November 24 to December 3 and will see the Scottish squad pitted against the best junior surfers from across the globe.

It is widely considered a direct pathway to the Olympic Games, as 33 out of the 40 Tokyo 2020 Olympic surfers previously participated in the championships, 16 of them claiming ISA World Junior medals.

Mackay, the Scottish under-18 champion, said: “Competing at this level is super exciting and I feel so grateful for the opportunity. I think we’re all going to learn a lot from this trip.

“I am looking forward to surfing in Brazil and enjoying the experience with my team-mates.”

A selection committee chose athletes based on the top two placings in each division at the Scottish Surf Federation (SSF) Junior National Championships. The remaining spots have been allocated to either third place at the championships or wildcard entries decided by surfing performances over the past year.

Newly appointed Scottish junior squad head coach Craig Sutherland said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish kids are getting the amazing opportunity to represent their country on the international stage and compete with the best surfers in the world.

“This will be inspirational not only for our current junior surfers but will also encourage other children to get involved with surfing and surf competitions and enjoy the associated physical and mental health benefits.

“I look forward to helping the young surfers achieve their best.”

The following athletes have been selected to surf in Rio: Craig Mclachlan (18) and Olivia Mackay (16) from North Shore Surf Club; Finn Clark (16) from Edinburgh and Borders Surf Club; Charlie Pugh (15) and Ansel Parkin (14) from Belhaven Surf Club; Lola Mitchell (14), Callie Cruickshank (13) and Sebastian Ballantyne (12) from Broch Surf Club; and Fraser Brown (15) from Lossiemouth Surf Club.

The squad also need to raise funds to send the athletes to Brazil. The SSF’s Marcelle Lockhart is coordinating sponsorship and is keen for any businesses or individuals who would be interested in helping, whether through team sponsorship, donations or in any other way, to get in touch.

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