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Survey names Thurso as most popular surfing destination in Scotland

By Jean Gunn

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A surfer making the most of ideal conditions at Thurso East. Earlier this month Thurso played host to the British Surfing Championships. Picture: James Gunn
A surfer making the most of ideal conditions at Thurso East. Earlier this month Thurso played host to the British Surfing Championships. Picture: James Gunn

Thurso's reputation as a top surfing venue has been given another boost in the same month that it hosted the British championships.

A survey named it as the most popular place for surfing in Scotland, ahead of locations in East Lothian, the Borders, Fife and the north-east.

Jason Simpson, chairman of the locally based North Shore Surf Club (NSSC), welcomed the findings. He pointed out that the area offers sea conditions suitable for all abilities, while the club hut at Thurso East has proved a great asset in running major competitions.

"I am not surprised Thurso has come out on top for the best surf locations in Scotland as Thurso is up there with the best locations in Europe, if not the world," Mr Simpson said. "With our rugged coastline of reefs and golden sand beaches, we have surf conditions to match all levels of surfing capability."

Holiday lettings company Stay in Devon carried out the survey based on the most searched-for surf reports across England, Scotland and Wales.

Thurso emerged as the most popular surfing destination north of the border, with 110 searches per month – more than twice as many as Whitesands in East Lothian in second place. Making up Scotland's top five locations were Coldingham Bay (Borders), St Andrews and Aberdeen.

Thurso was the setting for the successful British Surfing Championships over the weekend of April 10/11, hosted by the Scottish Surfing Federation (SSF) with support from NSSC. The event brought together the home nation surfing federations of England, Scotland and Wales, with strict Covid-19 protocols in place.

Several local surfers were among the Scottish contingent, although most of the honours went to English entrants.

"What the recent British championships have done is to show that Scotland can successfully run national competitions even under the tough restrictions of Covid," Mr Simpson said. "The feedback from all the home nations has been extremely complimentary and appreciative of the huge effort from the Scottish Surfing Federation and North Shore Surf Club on making the first surf competition in the UK since lockdown a huge success."

He added: "The newly built surf hut has made a big difference for the ease and professionalism of running a large event like the British nationals. It provides the athletes with facilities like hot showers and toilets and this makes a huge difference when running a competition on a cold, wintry weekend in April.

"Being able to serve hot drinks and allow for team meeting in a warm environment definitely helped to make the event a success."

SSF director William Watson said after the championships: "A special thanks to all involved who have delivered such an amazing event under some of the most challenging conditions and warm congratulations to the champions and British team of 2021."

Devon's Croyde beach took the UK number one spot in the Stay in Devon survey with an average of 2900 searches a month. Also in the top five were Newquay and Polzeath (both Cornwall) along with Woolacombe and Bantham (both Devon).

More information can be found on the Stay in Devon blog.

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