The SCA Scottish Surf Kayak Championships were held at 'Shit Pipe' (the wave really is called that!) in Thurso on the 9th April 2011. Three KKC members were in attendance, Kristian Cooper, Adam Strutt and Mary Saunders.
Adam, Kristian and Mary were all first time competitors, with Adam competing in the Junior Long Boat and Junior Short Boat Classes, Kristian in the Novice Class and Mary in the Ladies Long Boat and Novice Classes.
Competitors can enter up to two classes and these were spread over a series of 20 heats throughout the day. Each heat lasts for 15 minutes with competitors allowed to catch up to 10 waves in that time. Each wave is scored out of 10, with points on offer for, amongst other things, wave selection, take off, manoeuvres, length of ride and general skill level. The final of each class lasts for 20 minutes.
After watching some fine waves from the experienced men, Mary was first to compete in the Ladies Long Boat Class but due to first time nerves, put in a really disappointing performance and failed to catch any waves. She was very annoyed about this and should have practised more before hand! Next up for the Orkney entrants was the Junior Short Boat Class. Adam performed excellently and received good scores and comments from the judges. Mary, who was scribing for one of the judges, was even told to stop showing partiality by shouting encouragement to one of the competitors! Adam again performed well in the Long Boat Class but I wasn't able to watch because I was preparing for the next class. The last class of the day was the Novice Class where Kristian and Mary were both competing. Mary had increased in confidence and performed better than in her earlier class, possibly even scoring some points, while Kristian put in a good performance catching several good waves. Mary claims she was obstructed by the man in the pink hat and should have called for interference! (This would mean he would lose his highest scored wave).
The results of each class were announced at a prize giving ceremony at the end of the day. First to be announced was the Junior Short Boat and the Orkney entrants were extremely pleased when Adam picked up a silver medal. The results of the Junior Long Boat class were next and there was a double celebration when Adam received a second silver medal. Next to be announced was the Novice Class and everyone was very pleased when Kristian gained a bronze medal. Next year, Adam will win both junior classes, Kristian will take Novice, Mary will get silver in Novice and bronze in Ladies Long Boat. Maybe. Mary is keen to start training now!
The Orkney entrants had an excellent time at the event and were made to feel extremely welcome by all involved. Special thanks should go to Ian and Tracy Sherrington of the SCA surf committee who put the event together and made everything run smoothly and who were both extremely encouraging to us novices.
I think everyone will agree that Adam and Kristian put in great performances and did incredibly well to obtain podium places in their first competition. Bring on next year!