East Lothian young surfers need to raise funds to be able to represent Scotland
Three junior surfers from East Lothian and Midlothian are trying to raise thousands of pounds so they can compete in the EuroSurf competition in Portugal this summer.
Ebon Parkin, 15, from Dunbar, Annie Herd, 15, and Finn Clarke, 15, have been selected to represent Scotland along with seven other surfers from across Scotland.
But to compete they will need to raise £7,000 as a collective team of ten.
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They formed a team crowdfunding page.
The team will travel to Santa Cruz in Portugal on July 14, 2022 with their coach, assistant coach, manager and videographer.
The opening ceremony on July 15 will see the team wearing kilts and waving the Scottish flag.
As the competition kicks off on Saturday the 16th and lasts for eight days, the young surfers say they will “represent Scotland proudly”.
They will surf in the categories Under 18 and Under 16 boys, Under 18 and Under 16 girls, as well as longboard boys and longboard girls.
Ebon is quite unique in the junior surfing scene, coming from a household that doesn’t include an older surfer, having started independently at the age of seven.
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Although the Dunbar Grammar student admits it was probably in the last two or three years that he started taking surfing seriously.
He’s often joined by his younger brother, 13-year-old Ansel, when he’s out on the waves and credits his incredible coach for his progress in the sport.
About competing in Portugal and his love for the sport, he said: “Surfing is so much fun. I love sitting behind the waves and chatting with friends. Then when you catch the wave it’s so terrifying but also so much fun.
“When you go down and finish the wave, the paddle is amazing, everyone loves it.
“There’s a lot of anticipation, you see the waves are pumping and you walk around just thinking ‘I can’t wait to go.’
“Some people like it for the calm but I like the adrenaline and the big waves.
“I started surfing when I was seven, but only really got into it two or three years ago when I got a job at the local surf school.
“I work as an assistant, so I go out with the instructors and help teach the kids and do the dishes and pack and stuff.
“I’ve been doing this for two years.
“Last year I took part in the Scottish Junior Surfing Series with competitions all over Scotland. I managed to rack up enough points and finished in second place which helped me. earned a spot at EuroSurf.
“At Easter my brother and I took part in the men’s competition in Thurso, the waves were crazy.
“My brother was the youngest to compete, it’s nice to be able to compete together.
“I’m really excited to go to Portugal, it’s going to be so much fun but I’ll be there with my mates so I can’t wait to be there.
“I am very grateful to all the companies and individuals who have helped us raise funds so far. We’ll be up against some great surfers, but hopefully we can make Scotland proud and get through some heats.
Ebon will be joined by his friend Finn, who comes from Gorebridge and likes to ride the waves near the beaches near Dunbar.
His father Gene is also an avid surfer and skateboarder – so it runs in his blood.
On competing and his love for surfing, Finn said: “I love the feeling of surfing, the adrenaline you get from the waves is so powerful.
“It makes you humble and allows you to know yourself better and connects you to nature.
“Whenever the waves are good, I go out and hit them.
“There is definitely a scare out there, especially on powerful waves, but once you have a couple under your belt you gain confidence.
“Although the waves are a reminder not to get your head too big as they can quickly bring you down to earth.
“It was my first year competing in the last 12 months. It was great fun and good for meeting new people.
“The surf scene is great for socializing.
“I think I’m the only one in Newbattle High who surfs.
“I’m super excited to go to Portugal. It will be such a good experience and I would be happy to get through my heat, because there are so many good surfers, especially from France and England.
“I am truly grateful for all the support we have received for our fundraiser.”
The last of the local trios is Annie Herd, 15, from Direlton, she spends a lot of time surfing near North Berwick.
She has a few friends she surfs with at her high school in North Berwick.
Of her surfing experiences, she said, “A few of us surf together at school. But I personally started surfing about three years ago with my mother.
“We will be surfing our local beaches around East Lothian. I got my first hardboard for my twelfth birthday and made my first competition in the Sandend Grom tournament in 2019.
“It was a really fun thing to do.
“I love being in the sea and the adrenaline after catching a good wave is really good.
“I definitely feel more connected with nature when I’m on the waves.
“I’m a bit nervous for Portugal but it will be a super fun experience and I’m really excited to go there with my team.
“I would be happy to skip a run, but I don’t expect to get a place in the final or anything and skip a run. I look forward to gaining experience and growing as a surfer.
“We still have a lot to raise with the crowdfunder and I’m grateful for the support and the opportunity.”
Those wishing to support the junior surfers and their other seven teammates can do so by following their crowdfunding page here.