Thurso, Scotland – Video & Interview
During the British winter Jamie Hancock, his teammate Ross Williams and Irish wave sailor Timo Mullen travelled up to North East Scotland in pursuit of perfection. And the trip was a real highlight. They got big clean waves and wind. Ross has the main part in the clip, who lands amazing frontside wave 360.
Jamie: “I’d always heard about how great Thurso is but had never been, probably with it being the furthest place I could drive to from my front door. I travelled with Timo, Ross and JC and arriving at 5am, after the 13 hour drive, we pulled over and got 3 hour skip before a full day on the water. I was taking it a bit easy still after breaking my leg late in the summer so cut my sessions short and got behind the camera. The clip is from a few cold sessions during the trip.”
INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE
Read the cool interview with Jamie, which will give you more behind the scenes infos about the video, the trip and Thurso as a windsurfing spot.
Continentseven: When did you travel up there to Thurso?
Jamie Hancock: It was in late November 2013, i think it was 3 days in total. We went on a pretty good forecast as we usually do to basically go have fun and was with JC (John Carter) to shoot some pictures for print magazine. For me and Ross it was the first time at Thurso. JC and Timo have been lots of times so we were in good hands as to where to go on what was forecasted.
Continentseven: You got inspired by the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, which ended at Scotland?
Jamie Hancock: Yes, we loved the James Bond film and thought it would be good to go to Thurso.
Continentseven: The days are short up there during the winter, aren’t they? The town is located at latitude 59 degrees north, like Juneau in Alaska. Was that a problem?
Jamie Hancock: No not really. It is very far north and you can see the northern lights on some clear nights. There were a few short sessions because it can be quite tide affected. Surfing wise though I think were in the water for 5+ hours. The daylight at that time of year wasn’t too bad, it got dark by 5pm I think.
Continentseven: It looks cold – Thurso has a subartic climate and is well known for the O’Neill Coldwater Surfing events. It even has a record for the coldest waters to have a competition held. Was it freezing cold?
Jamie Hancock: It was pretty cold, but we live in the UK so nothing drastically different to back home. A bit chilly and a few flasks of tea were required.
Continentseven: How thick were your wetsuit?
Jamie Hancock: My body glove wetsuit is 5/4/3mm, which is great for those temperatures, you don’t even think about it when you are out.
Continentseven: How would you describe the conditions you got and what effected the sensational wave?
Jamie Hancock: I think the surfing conditions stole the show, but we had some good windsurfs. It was a shame that the spot at the final part of the video was a bit onshore as on the first day it was too offshore and that was the spot we kind of went to sail.
Continentseven: Was it a once a year condition or does that great condition happen many times?
Jamie Hancock: That happens year round.
Continentseven: One of the best conditions in the UK?
Jamie Hancock: I think on its day definitely, but I think it can be a lot better than what we had. Surfing wise I think that is pretty up there, but I saw a video of the Oneill surf contest they had there a few weeks before and it looked insane.
Continentseven: Are the waves breaking over a reef?
Jamie Hancock: Yes, each spot was a reef break
Continentseven: Thurso’s waves are well known for surfing? Did you surf as well?
Jamie Hancock: Yes, there was a no wind day with pretty epic surf. I decided to film because my leg was still quite uncomfortable from previously breaking it.
Continentseven: You filmed your friends, but you sailed as well. What was the better job this time. The footage is amazing.
Jamie Hancock: It’s my job to represent my sponsors. I shouldn’t have really been sailing, I couldn’t hit any sections, couldn’t jump or air, but there was no way I wasn’t going to go on the trip. So I made a decision at the start of each session whether to film or to sail and to make sure I put in the effort. It’s cool to make good clips of my friends also, hopefully they can return the favours one day.
Continentseven: Do you plan to return to Thurso soon again?
Jamie Hancock: I literally have the Thurso forecast on refresh every morning. At the moment all the low pressures are directing quite south and happens to be windy at home and less so up towards Thurso. Also going windsurfing up there this time of year is pushing it a bit with the temperatures. I don’t think you could windsurf normally with it being too cold, therefor not really worth it. Next week I’m going to Cornwall where they had the Storm Chase last week. The temperatures down there are much better and around 10° degrees.
Continentseven: Are there any local windsurfers?
Jamie Hancock: There is one guy, who used to windsurf but now surfs all the time. So not really. I don’t think it is the sort of place where you will have a lot of windsurfers. It isn’t an easy place to windsurf really and best for the more experienced.
Continentseven: What gear did you use most out there at Thurso?
Jamie Hancock: Everything from my 3.3m Manic to 4.5m Manic with my 67 litre Tabou dacurve.
Continentseven: Is there anything everyone should consider, when traveling up to Scotland?
Jamie Hancock: I guess to respect the locals, as with visiting most new spots.
Continentseven: How are the feelings riding such big clean waves in arctic temperatures that far North during the winter time, when most of the top Pros escaped to warmer places like Cape Town, Western Australia or the Canaries?
Jamie Hancock: Well I did go to Cape Town in December. But these trips are what I live for. Those days of epic sailing in amazing places with your friends remain with you for life.
Continentseven: Did you stay in a guest house?
Jamie Hancock: We stayed in Ross’ van on the first night. Timo selfishly took the bed as usual leaving yours truly to sleep on the floor. After that though we stayed at a nice hotel called the Weigh Inn in central Thruso. If you ever go there that is the best place to stay with good internet, darts and sky sports on the TV!
Continentseven: The road to Thurso is like a one way road, when having a look on the map, up from Iverness. Can you imagine to stay there for a long time?
Jamie Hancock: Yea definitely, I would like to spend a couple of weeks there and check out more spots. The road up there after Glasgow is a nightmare, it takes ages.
Continentseven: The spot you sailed at is close to the 10.000 inhabitants counting town Thurso. How is the town?
Jamie Hancock: It is quite a cool town with some amazing reef breaks in the heart of the town.
Continentseven: Did you film a lot of 360° by Ross to get these great ones on camera?
Jamie Hancock: Ross was sailing really well as usual. I gave him strict instructions not to sail like a dick as I’m sacrificing sailing time to film him, so he did his part and made some nice 360’s
Continentseven: We really like this vid! Is it one of the best you produced so far?
Jamie Hancock: Yea it’s ok. I like them all really, they are more good memories than anything. I like the video of Phil winning Cornwall as that meant a lot to him and his family etc.
©continentseven.com 2014, Jamie Hancock