THE Scottish National Surfing Championships is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Surfers will return to the waves in Thurso from April 7 to April 9 to compete in the event, which was first held in 1973 on the north coast of Scotland.

Three-time Men and Women’s Open Division Scottish Surfing Champions, Mark Boyd and Phoebe Strachan, will attempt to defend their titles.

Craig McLachlan, the current British and Scottish junior boys surfing champion, will also compete in the Open Men’s championships, where he placed second last year at the age of 16.

His sister, Iona McLachlan, who co-owns North Coast Watersports, will take part in the Open Women’s event after finishing as runner up last time round.

The National: Mark Boyd surfing in the snow in ScotlandMark Boyd surfing in the snow in Scotland (Image: Malcolm Anderson)

Jason Simpson, the director of the Scottish Surfing Federation, said the standard of competition was going to be high.

“The popularity of surfing has grown to new heights since the inaugural championships were held in the early seventies.

“As has the standard of surfing with one of the strongest fields we have seen coming to compete this year.

“The north coast is a spectacular location to host this special anniversary championships and we are excited to show what Caithness has to offer to the world.”

The primary contest venue is at one of Scotland’s prime surfing spots, Thurso-East. The location has held international events in the past and is internationally famed for its cold-water surfing.

The National: Phoebe Strachan in a barrelPhoebe Strachan in a barrel (Image: Malcolm Anderson)

Competition divisions include open men, open women, masters, longboard, and junior boys and girls.

The event is overseen by the Scottish Surfing Federation, which has been managing the sport in Scotland for nearly 50 years.

This year’s event is supported by EventScotland’s National Events Programme and will be broadcast live online and on the Scottish Surfing Federation’s Facebook page.

Spectators are also encouraged to watch the action from the event site or the pier.

Mark Boyd, current Men’s Scottish National Surfing Champion, said: “The Scottish Surfing Championships are always a highlight in the surfing calendar for me and I am so excited to get back in the water and defend my title.

“Thurso-East is my favourite spot to surf and I can’t wait to get going.”

Thurso has previously hosted world qualifying events for the World Surf League and was named as the 10th best surfing spot in the world by travel blog ParkSleepFly last year.