Interview: Dunbar bodyboarder Josh Christopherson on Scottish surfing history


Josh Christopherson made history by becoming the first Scotsman to reach the final of the European Surfing Championships PIC: Tim Christopherson

“In Norway there was a big tent for the competitors and there were some serious athletes doing amazing stretches,” he says. . It’s interesting to see, but from my personal perspective, when you go into this environment every day for a week … I don’t know … I don’t really know how to say it … I would rather to really go out, explore and develop my skills in a slightly different way.

Christopherson, 42, took what he describes as the “tourist route” until the final stages of the competition. Like many surfing competitions, Eurosurf uses a repechage system, so, for example, surfers who fail to progress from their first round heats enter a repechage round which effectively gives them a second chance to stay. in the event, and the same happens in the second round. In theory, surfers who win all their rounds on first demand should have an advantage because they will have spent less time surfing and more time resting, but Christopherson believes that having more surf really worked in his favor. .

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The competition organizers, he explains, had cordoned off an area of ​​the beach where the best waves were breaking for the competition “but you could never train there because the competition was still going on … so having 20 minutes in the draft rounds was good from my perspective – you could determine where the sections were and where the [sand]the banks were working – you could be a little more confident and you weren’t shy. The guys who went straight through the heats and were progressing faster didn’t have as much surf time in the contest area.

In the final, Christopherson faced three serious contenders: Portugal’s Daniel Fonseca, Irishman Shane Meehan and Italian Genesio Ludovisi. “Basically all the surfers in the later stages [of the contest] were either heavily sponsored and semi-pro or full-time pro, ”he says,“ The final went well except I didn’t hit a few shots. If I had landed a few hits I think I probably would have come in second, but I just couldn’t get out of it – I just got stuck in the sand and the unsuccessful hits don’t pay off.

The big winner of the final was Fonseca, with a combined score of 17.66 for his two best waves. The other three were only a point and a half apart though, so although Christopherson was fourth he was probably only one full maneuver away from second.

Still, fourth in Europe, it’s not bad for a guy who isn’t that worried about competing. He will wear a competition jersey again later this month also for the Scottish National Surfing Championships in Thurso, which take place from 30 March to 2 April. Christopherson says he primarily helps junior surfers as a surf instructor for the Dunbar-based Coast to Coast Surf School, but he and his brother Tim, 38, typically participate in the bodyboard division while they are there and in recent years they have tended to trade the trophy with each other. “We now have younger guys who could push the old guard,” says Christopherson, referring to Max Ferguson-Hook and Oisin Strachan. Who knows? Maybe these young challengers could help Christopherson find his competitive streak. If he does manage to locate him, Europeans should probably be careful.

To find out more about this year’s Scottish Surfing Championships, visit


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