We caught up with one our Team Members Luke Simmonds, following a Surf Trip up to North to Thurso, Scotland with mates Vaughn Boden, Victoria Greaves & Taz Knight in Boris the van.
Photo : Luke Simmonds
- How was the drive?
- Yeah, probably the longest drive I've tackled so far in Boris, but the way up was pretty chilled. We set off early doors and actually, the further we got away from the South-West the better the weather seemed to get! Tori and myself split the drive up and smashed it in probably like 15 hours, with the odd pit stop to refuel on coffee. On the way back I just solo’d it and split the journey up into a couple of days, driving for like 5/6 hour bursts. And stopping off in the odd little town.
Photos: luke simmonds
- Were you chasing a swell or just hoping for the best?
- We tried to leave it all pretty last minute and were weighing up whether to travel to Scotland or Ireland for a while. Eventually charts just seemed to turn for the better up North. We had an idea there was gonna be swell but the winds were literally changing everyday- so we just hoped for the best and that there'd be the odd window at a variety of spots. The sweet thing is up there, as long as there’s at least some swell and the wind is straight North, there's always somewhere to surf. Even better, its usually uncrowded as locals tend to mainly surf Thurso east.
photo: Victoria Greaves
- Did you score?
- Yeah, well kinda. We turned up to pumping head high and glassy Thurso East which was rad. The next day was pretty similar but a tad busier; still nothing compared to down here though! We got a few sessions at some pretty rare points and slabs which was fun, and managed some super long rides- some of which got pretty heavy at times. The bar is just so high for wave potential up there that almost all the reefs can become pretty intimidating. It’s good for pushing your surfing and getting more familiar with some slabbing heavier waves, whilst still having a bit more protection from the reef in your 5mm wetty so you just bounce off it.
Photos: Victoria Greaves
- Was it cold?
- It wasn't as bad as anticipated, the week before they had a good amount of snow and so we prepared for the worse in the van with many layers, hot water bottles and even a camping heater. By the time we arrived all the snow had basically melted and the temperature had risen significantly- so we got lucky! The only side effect of all the recent weather was the snow melt at Thurso east reef, where the water can’t have been more than 4 or 5 degrees above freezing.
- How was van life?
- Boris was the star of the trip! He dealt with the miles, the mud and even the snow on the way home through the highlands (we may have had to be rescued by a farmer on one occasion). With the three of us it was a squeeze, but we made it work and spooned for warmth in our sleeping bags.
- Highlights of the Trip?
- Seeing the Northern Lights as we arrived into Thurso at midnight was pretty special- kinda felt like a dream. We pulled over to look and make sure we weren't just tripping after a long journey. Just getting to see Tens a Misto slab breaking was pretty cool as well, it really gave us a good sense of the power this place is capable of. We scored a sick point break as well, with this crazy running left that must have been at least 200 metres long. It was pretty surreal running through the marshlands to find it firing. We had a mishap on the way to the spot due to the froth levels reaching sky high after first catching glimpse of the spot from the harbour. We sped off, only to have not closed the van’s side door, as we found out from Taz who was chasing after us to let us know the boards had been flung out the van! They’d landed safely on the grass- somehow. Apart from that mishap, it was a rad trip and we even managed to stop off in the Cairngorms national park and go snowboarding on route home. Surfing and snowboarding in the same 24 hrs was the dream.
Photography by Victoria Greaves & Luke Simmonds