Cancelled Thurso surfing event leads to fears of wipeout

VIA – SCOTSMAN

 

Cancelled Thurso surfing event leads to fears of wipeout

 

Thurso is losing out to more traditional, Californian climes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

 

Thurso is losing out to more traditional, Californian climes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Published on Thursday 16 February 2012 00:00

IT WAS the flagship event which put Scotland firmly on the world map as a surfing mecca along with the best beaches on Australia’s Gold Coast and Hawaii.

Every year since 2006, the world’s leading surfers have been drawn to the rugged coast of the Pentland Firth off Thurso to catch some of Britain’s biggest waves and compete in one of the sport’s most prestigious events, the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

However, in a major blow for the sport in Scotland and the local economy, this year’s event has been cancelled while the sponsor backs a competition in Santa Cruz, California, to celebrate the clothing firm’s 60th year in the town where it was founded.

Chris Noble, president of the Scottish Surfing Federation, said: “It’s easily the biggest surfing event held in Scotland. And it’s a big blow for Scottish surfing – not just the guys from Scotland who enter the competition but it also gives your average Joe Surfer the chance to see some of the world’s best surfers on the waves on their own home doorstep.

“It’s like seeing Tiger Woods playing your own course or Roger Federer playing on your own tennis court – and it lets you see what can actually be done with the waves that you have.”

t was also worth countless thousands of pounds in free advertising for Scottish surfing around the world, showing that there are “world-class waves in Scotland”.Mr Noble said the Thurso event – known as the coldest surf contest on tour and one of series of Cold Water Classic contests held around the globe – had regularly attracted more than 100 of the world’s best surfers to the far north of Scotland to battle the extreme conditions.Local surfers were also given wild card entries into the contest on a regular basis.

Mr Noble, who has competed in the competition four times, added: “I don’t know if it is going to come back next year as it is all up in the air at the moment.”

Mark Cameron, 34, one of Scotland’s leading surfers…
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