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Passenger Clothing would like welcome Surfer Mark Boyd to the family.
We asked Mark to give us some info about himself and what he's been up to lately.
My name is Mark Boyd, known to my friends as Boydie. I grew up surfing the frigid waters of Scotland's Moray coast where I was fortunate enough to live walking distance to the beach. Living so close to a relatively popular surfing beach for the area, it was only a matter of time before my hobbies of snowboarding and skateboarding led to surfing...the transition to surfing was encouraged by friends at ESP which is the North of Scotland's longest running dedicated skate-surf-snowboard shop. I was the only surfer at my school and would only see other surfers at weekends, so progress was slow, particularly in the harsh Scottish winters and short daylight hours, meaning surfing after school was not an option during peak swell season. As a surf stoked kid, sponsorship from ESP was a great encouragement. Its a pretty tight network of dedicated surfers in Scotland and I'd soon know most. I spent as much time as possible on the North Coast of Scotland around the Thurso area in my early teens and began travelling through to Fraserburgh for the 'Broch Winter League' which at the time, before the reformation of the Scottish Surfing Federation, was the hub of the competitive surf scene in Scotland. I won contests as a junior and really got the competitive bug.
These were the days before surfing media was readily available on the internet, so my inspirations were limited to the surfers on the couple of video tapes I owned. Mick Fanning was my favourite surfer as a kid but it was the likes of Scottish surfers; Ian Masson, Chris Noble, Scratch and Lee MacLeod who really inspired me to try and improve as a surfer - and they still do! Nowadays all the pros inspire me, but I am particularly motivated by watching Jordy Smith as he is a similar height and build to myself (very tall for a surfer).
When I left school at 17 I chose to study in Aberdeen to be as close to Thurso as possible - Aberdeen is also on the coast and living there introduced me to surfing swells out on the North Sea on the East Coast. I moved to Thurso on a permanent basis at the earliest opportunity after graduating university and became sponsored by Alder Wetsuits.
Living in Caithness comes with its pros and cons. World class reef breaks, beautiful coastline, big heavy hollow waves, lots of sheep, whisky and good craic. But like all of Scotland, the winters are dark, long and freezing. The weather can be harsh with gales and snow and the summers are prone to flat spells. Contrary to popular misconception the waves are no longer uncrowded these days unfortunately. But there is something special about surfing world class tubes with your friends and its something I've never experienced anywhere else on my travels and something I will never give up.
That aside, I do love to travel and surf new waves in warmer climates...and colder ones! I love to experience different cultures and see different places - there is so much coastline in the world that these experiences can always be intertwined with surf trips. I have surfed in India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Portugal, France, Spain, the Canary Islands, England, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, the Republic of Congo, South Africa and even in Iceland and in a wave pool in the UAE! But I have spent more time in Indonesia than anywhere else and have travelled extensively throughout. Fortunately peak Indo swell season is during the Scottish summer, which makes it the ideal location for a trip and one of the reasons I keep going back.
Despite my appetite to travel as much as possible there are undoubtedly untapped waves closer to home. I have spent a bit of time in the Scottish Isles like Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, but nowhere near enough, and I intend on doing a lot more searching around Scotland in the near future.
I had some success as a junior pre SSF, winning contests like the T-Nets Open, which at the time was the biggest open competition in Scotland as there was no Scottish National Surfing Championships while I was a junior. Since the SSF has been in existence again, I have consistently placed 3rd in the National Championships over the last 6years and have won the Scottish Longboard Title for the last 4. I was given a wildcard into the Scotland Coldwater Classic WQS on two occasions and have competed in Lanzarote and also during an extended stay in New Zealand where I placed 3rd in the Taranaki Home Loans Series and also 3rd in the Raglan Boardriders in which I competed against a talented field including WQS surfers.
Despite holding the Scottish Longboard title I almost exclusively ride a shortboard unless the waves are too small, but I do have a great respect for the talent of those who can ride a longboard properly and combine traditional and progressive manoeuvres. I love the way modern surfing is going with such an emphasis on aerial surfing and big heavy tube riding as I feel these are the most exciting aspects of the sport.