Thurso East

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Surf kayaking at Thurso East

Thurso East (alternatively, the North Shore) is a coastline section of the Atlantic 0.5 miles (0.80 km) east of Thurso,[1] Caithness, northern Scotland.[2] It is situated at the mouth of the River Thurso, overlooked by the remains of Thurso Castle. The reef is made of layers of Caithness flagstone (the same stone that paves the Strand and much of Paris). It is Scotland's prime surfing venue on the north coast.


Thurso East is a fast reef break and has hosted many international competitions.[3] The reef holds swell from 2 ft upwards of 15 ft and is primarily a long walling right-hander[4] with several barrel sections depending on tide and swell direction. Thurso East came into the spotlight in 2006 when it was used to host the inaugural O'Neill Highland Open WQS surfing competition.[5] The event was won by British surfer Russell Winter. From 2006-2011 O’Neill sponsored an international surf contest at this location which was latterly called the Coldwater Classic and the event regularly attracted big name surfers.[6] In 2012 O'Neill announced that it wouldn't be renewing their sponsorship deal, in order to direct resources elsewhere. [7]


  1. Anderson, William; Robertson, Joseph; Brichan, James Brodie; McNab, John (1855). Origines Parochiales Scotiae: pt. 1. Diocese of Argyle. Diocese of the Isles (Public domain ed.). W.H. Lizars. pp. 754–.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Sumpter, Rod (2004). 100 Best Surf Spots in the World: The World's Best Breaks for Surfers in Search of the Perfect Wave. Globe Pequot Press. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-0-7627-2598-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Cox, Roger (14 October 2012). "It's ridden the crest of a wave for a while, but it's the end of an era for the Thurso Coldwater Classic". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Thurso East, Scotland". Beach Wizard. Retrieved 17 October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Surfers praise Scotland the wave". BBC News. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Cox, Roger (16 November 2013). "Thurso still boasts world-class waves". The Scotsman. Retrieved 1 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Clark, Will (15 February 2012). "Major blow as surfing contest is wiped out". John O'Groat Journal. Retrieved 1 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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