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Surf Kayaking 2012
Saturday 7th April 2012 saw the Scottish Surf Kayak Championships held at Farr Bay, Bettyhill, Sutherland. Orkney had three medals to defend with Adam Strutt having taken silver in the Junior Long and Junior Short categories and Kristian Cooper winning bronze in 2011. Meanwhile, Shetland had its first ever participant with Jim Tait entering both the Mens Short Boat and Novice categories. Conditions were very messy with all competitors having a hard time out on the waves. The competition involved around 10 different classes utilising both short and long surf kayaks and included entrants from all over Scotland in mens, womens and junior classes.
The first heat was the Mens Short Boat, where an extrememly strong rip made conditions very difficult indeed for Kristian Cooper and Jim Tait. A change of venue followed with Orkney fairing better in the Mens Long Boat, with Kristian Cooper making it through to the final. Mary Saunders was next up in Ladies Long Boat where she managed a couple of good runs, despite battling very hard with the conditions and spending a good deal of time upside down! Adam Strutt didn't compete until the end of the day where again the Junior Short boat class was gruelling and held in very messy waves. Mary Saunders and Jim Tait where then both competing in the Novice Class, finding it difficult to find any green waves for good clean runs. The last round of the day was Junior Long Boat with Adam finding it easier in the longer boat but condtions were still tough.
The placings were announced at a small prize giving, with Adam Strutt bettering last year's haul by taking gold in Junior Short and silver in Junior Long. Mary Saunders took bronze in both Ladies Long and Novice, while Kristian Cooper did very well to take 4th in Mens Long in a very experienced field. Jim Tait from Shetland was very pleased to win the Novice class (and a huge cup) in his first ever surf kayak competition.
Thanks must go to the SCA Surf Kayak Committee for organising the event and to Northlink Ferries for sponsoring the Orkney Surf Kayak Team to get over to Thurso. It is hoped that the inaugral Orkney Open Surf Kayak Competition will be held here at the end of September.