Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This last contest I travelled to in Scotland was a big eye opener for me not only for my competitive ability but for the world and it's landmarks from the past.I flew into Edinburgh Scotland with a fresh feeling to see a new land. I would be traveling alone but that just added to the feeling of an adventure. The first task would be to get myself to Thurso where the surf contest is held. I grabbed my surfboards and travel bag and went to the rental car area just outside the airport. This would be my first time driving a rental car not only that but my first time driving on the left side of the road.I drove off with no knowledge of the roads I was trying to follow my friends who had GPS but lost them when attempting to catch up to them at a round-about. I had to pull over and look at the map then I figured out the way to Thurso which was five and half hours away. I had a couple close calls trying to pass vehicles. One time, I assumed I had a passing lane but it was for oncoming traffic I made it but narrowly missed a semi truck (coming head on) while serving into another lane right in front of a big truck.I made safely to Thurso found a B and B (bed and breakfast)and crashed out for the night. The next day I drove around for hours trying find Brims Ness: the back up Contest site which would be where I surfed my first heat.I finally found it after driving down numerous farm roads where old men walked baby sheep around their farm property.I had few close calls when I would get off the farm roads and start heading down the highway on the right side (wrong side)of the road.

I free surfed a few times before I surfed my heat the water was frigid! I ended up making it to the round of 24 and placing a equal 17th I was stoked to make it that far. I had surfed my last heat in 44 degree water and 30 degree air temp, all while snow and hail came down as I made my way into the lineup. That was a new experience in itself and totally strange. I was expecting to leave the day after I lost out but the Volcanic explosion in Iceland sent a ash cloud over all of the U.K shutting down all flights leaving the whole U.K flying space. I called the airlines and waited on hold for a hour and half to finally have a staff member tell me the next flight available would be a week from the date I planned to leave.  The ash eventually left the air space thank goodness. So I was not exactly bummed I had to stay, but a little worried of being permanently stuck in Scotland. I had to return my lovely little rental car that I nearly took head on with many Euro peon's and stuffed my stinky wetsuit and booties into after every surf sesh. I spent a few more days in Thurso waiting for good waves but the coast was battered with gale force winds which meant crappy conditions. I had heard from my Aunt Caroline who was expected to be in Edinburgh, so I figured I would return my rental car and stay by the airport. On the way back to Edinburgh I got a call from Ballaram Stack who is a fellow pro surfer from Long Island, New York. He asked if he could cruise with me till we both had to leave on the next Monday.

Ballaram and I found a hotel in Edinburgh and started checking out the Castle of Edinburgh. The Royal mile is a street that dead ends at the castle and is filled with rootsy pubs and gift shops so we checked out all that stuff which was really cool. We meet up with My Aunt and got loose in a bar called The Worlds End. After that me and Balls got pointed to a place called the Opal lounge, it was raging and we a few drinks, then found ourselves wanting a snack before going to sleep so we had our taxi drop us off at McDonald's. We got to the door it was locked we read the sign that said it opens at 5:00 am so waited  ten minutes to be the first costumers of the day and finish our night with sausage mcmuffins and hash browns. The employee was not so happy when I began harassing him about game pieces it just happened that McDonald's  monopoly was up and running, but they did not give game pieces for breakfast not good news to someone who had been up all night drinking.

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