“Scotland?” surf video guru Manu Miguelez asks MSW Towers one morning a couple of weeks back. “Forecast is going to be insane, head out with Sancho – will be his first time, and Jony Gonzalez – meet up with Ben Larg, chase some big barrels.”
That's how these conversations start -- and Manu's a conversation starter. Never still, always looking for somewhere to score away from his home in the Canaries. And Ben Larg. The cheeky Scottish charger's been making a name for himself this past winter, hucking into Portugal's most dangerous wave, heading out at Nazare, showing Nic Von Rupp around his home breaks – and scoring at least one all-time session while the Von Froth was in the Highlands. Yeah, if Sancho and Jony Gonzalez wanted someone to shred with, who's going to banter them all through the journey, they've got exactly that.
A few days later the trio of Euro frothers were jetting into the UK's far north. Over the course of seven days, Manu, Sancho and Jony went hard at Europe's most fun barrel, Thurso East -- and met up with Ben for a few days at the start of the trip. Queue; trading quips and sinking the odd pint here and there, framed by a dramatic Scottish coastline.
“Always wanted to visit Scotland,” said Sancho. “To be honest, I was a bit overweight [laughs] and I am a bad paddler in those big, 6mm suits. I wanted to cruise and enjoy my time there, so I took a 6'4”, 6'8” and a 7'10” - all twins by Rob Vaughan. Snapped the 6'4”, which was my favourite.”
“It kind of reminded my of Tenerife,” said Jony, who has been buds with Sancho for the better part of 20-years. “Lots of options and special places. We surfed twice-a-day – imagine coming from 19 degrees C water to 6 in Scotland. Haven't been to Thurso in years, since the QS days – waking up at 6am, there's ice everywhere.”
“Jony catches a million waves on the inside,” added Sancho. “Still one of the best surfers in Europe, so talented, humble, mellow, easy to travel with. Honestly, this trip was flawless.”
And for young Ben Larg? “Was really cool of Manu to give me a shout to say that him and the boys were coming over. I was excited to show them how good Scotland could be because the forecast was pumping.
“Jonathan was pretty cold after being in Tenerife but he was in his element, I think he had about 40 barrels at Thurso East one day.
“Sancho was complaining that it was hard to paddle in the 6mm the whole trip so started to surf a big twinny or something like that so he could catch some waves easier, it seemed to be working out pretty good for him cause he got slotted all week.
"Was pretty awesome to watch the boys, they are incredible surfers and great mates now. I think they even hit up Skinandis, which is Thurso’s only club on Saturday night, gutted I missed that I would have liked to see their dancing, don’t think it would have been as good as their surfing!” (Yeah, watch until the end of the edit above, no dancing but a fine greeting from the locals)
“We ended the trip really tired,” concludes Jony. “Was crazy to get changed at the beach, so cold. Those guys though, they're used to it, wake up early with the good wind. For us, that was really hard to get up but everything is better that early on.
“Was a great week of surfing, full days of at least head high waves then the slabs on the last few days. Really sad, the last day, surfed the right at this slab – caught four waves, waited in the water for one hour and it just didn't happen. The wind so strong offshore and just went flat.”
And that meant, home time for the honourary Highlanders. If you haven't already, hit play above for the full cut.