Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Surf’s Up

So after all the hard work of the last few years, getting coaching and leading qualifications, I decided that 2012 was to be a year of fun.  First on the agenda were the Scottish Surf Kayak Championships held at Farr Bay on the north coast of Scotland last weekend.

Last year, with some trepidation, Hairyaker, the Teen and I made our way over to Thurso for the event, our first foray into competitive surf kayaking.  I was downright rubbish but Hairyaker came home with bronze in the novice category, while the Teen won silver in both the Junior Long and Junior Short classes.

IMGP0894 Hairyaker and the Teen show off their 2011 medals.

Having come home from our first surf kayak competition with medals, there were expectations for the 2012 competition and a bit of extra pressure…  My personal aim was to actually score at least one point, while the Teen had one final year in which to defend his Junior Medals.  Hairyaker was banned from the Novice class after winning a medal in 2011 and had to compete with the big boys!

IMGP0570 Surf kayaks lined up at Farr Bay

The conditions at Farr were tough, lots of messy waves and a strong wind made getting out back a real fight.  I don’t think I’ve ever had such a pounding in 20 minutes as I did in Ladies long boat.  I think I must have rolled at least 25 times and apparently about 5 times on one wave.  I was knackered!  However, despite getting pummelled, I caught a couple of waves and tried to do a turn or two (not very well).

IMGP0575 Setting off for Ladies Long

The Novice class was over on the other side of the bay and by this point the waves were more mushy.  I didn’t really have the strength to keep battling out back as there was nothing decent out there when you arrived!  I tried to get a few waves and succeeded in getting much less trashed.  I was just out having fun by that point.

Come the end of the day there was the traditional prize giving where I was very surprised to win a bronze medal in the Ladies Long class.  The Teen was awarded gold in the Junior Short class and silver in the Junior long class, bettering his 2011 performance.  Hairyaker, now up with the big boys, had made it through to the Mens Long final and achieved a very respectable 4th place against others with much more experience.  The Novice category was then announced and I was again surprised to get the bronze medal.  Our friend The Vet from Shetland did extremely well in his first competition and only went and won the class!

IMGP0583 Scottish Surf Kayak Championship medal winners 2012


The Vet and his huge trophy

IMGP0590 Team Surf Kayak Orkney

Back home, the surf forecast was looking good for Monday evening, so I started badgering Hairyaker to get out after work.  My persistence paid off and we headed out to Skaill for a couple of hours.  As the tide rose, the right got better and better and my last wave was absolutely awesome.  Everything clicked at once, my favourite part was turning back off the white and screaming down the wave a second time.  I wish someone had seen it!!!  It was a beautiful, calm evening and it really reminded me of the great things about living in Orkney.

IMGP0593 Hairyaker waiting for the next set

Tuesday night was again gorgeous and I managed to get a lift with a friend to have another play on the waves.  I didn’t manage to recreate the wave of my life, but I did have a couple of good runs and pulled a couple of comedy moves on my last wave…..

Surf kayaking most definitely rocks.

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