Moments In Time


Phil Horrocks contemplates a surreal instant in Scotland



The final few minutes of the 2007 season in Tiree’s fading light saw a world champion crowned and a heavy-hitting top 16 in the money. But the scarce Hebridean daylight and a wound-down holding period denied some wannabe champs a final shot at glory. Phil Horrocks (JP / NeilPryde) reflects on how the curtain came down too early.

“Yeah this was a pretty bitter-sweet moment in my season. It was just after my heat against Scotty McKercher (Starboard / Severne). I’d already beaten him once this year and I was determined to get in another victory over the 2004 world champion

Walking back up the beach I thought from what I had seen of us both I’d had the higher scoring wave but I was just hoping the judges saw it the same way?

It was so light and tricky out there. I remember the beginning of the heat and waiting for a wave and thinking I’d probably only get 1 ride and that I couldn’t afford to mess it up!  The wave came and I just went. Then everything kind of happened on autopilot.

I didn’t have time to think about what I should do on the wave, it all just happened. I got a nice air and couple of good turns and another air to finish, and I remember stepping off on the beach and thinking ‘did that just happen?’

I spent the next 7 mins of the heat just shadowing Scott and trying to make sure I was in a better position to take the wave if a bigger one came through.

I think having sailed at Balevullin before on a few occasions it made me feel really comfortable competing there, it might have been a slight home advantage in that respect.

I then had this long strange walk up the beach as the results were tabulated. At the results board on the beach I saw I’d got through and was drawn with Vidar Jensen (North) next. Given the conditions we had I really fancied my chances on that one, and to build some momentum and maybe make the final 4. But given the light I knew it just wasn’t going to happen.

I checked the score sheets afterwards and I’d won with 2 judges by 2 points, (with only 1 wave scoring, this was a reasonable margin), and drawn on the third judge’s sheet.

It was the second time the draw had looked good for me this year and both times we weren’t able to continue because of worsening conditions. I just hope I don’t have to wait so long to get in that position again!”

© PWA / Brian McDowell