WATCH: Welcome to Scotland's Hellest of Slabs

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 17d ago

Exactly a decade ago, Nic Von Rupp hunted down a Scottish hell slab with legendary photographer Al Mackinnon. They scored this thick-lipped, rock-laden hell wave, the kind of thing that leaves an impression and Nic took the wipeout to prove it. This year, Von Froth returned to the same place, better equipped, on a colossal swell and ended up relieving some of those demons.

I mean, just look at this thing. Nic teamed up with local kid Ben Larg, a 16-year-old with the fire for heavy slabs at home. (see part I HERE)

Yeah, Scotland's cold and not easy to find a little pot of gold. Here's NVR.

Yeah, Scotland's cold and not easy to find a little pot of gold. Here's NVR.

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

“I'd been going back and forth with Ben for some time and he'd just bought a ski and the swell looked good. I took the risk and went up there,” said NVR.

“This time though was a lot different from a decade ago. When I was there in 2011, all I could think was I wanted a ski, because it's such a gnarly slab. The rocks stick out and if something goes wrong there, you're screwed – and this time we had a ski! So it was completely different.

Ben Larg is 16-years-old. Savour that for a moment.

Ben Larg is 16-years-old. Savour that for a moment.

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

“The wind wasn't that great for Thurso, so we thought it wouldn't be great for this slab. It was pretty solid a little big of a mixed swell. I can't say this enough but so much can go wrong up there, it's one of those places where there's no one around, there's no second ski. You get it wrong, that's it, you're done. You're going to end up on the rocks. I was playing it pretty safe but we ended up scoring some crazy waves, stoked.”

The wilds of Scotland...

The wilds of Scotland...

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

...interspersed with moments of brilliance.

...interspersed with moments of brilliance.

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

And how NVR met Ben? “Someone told me there was this kid on Instagram who liked my stuff, he just got injured and asked if I could send him a message of support, so I did. Just like “hey buddy, keep strong – hope it's all good.” That was Ben and we just kept in touch, you know, and he's got the fire to surf big waves. That's how this trip came about. He's got so much motivation – can't believe he was only 16. Great kid, great surfer. There's going to be a lot of opportunities for him in the future.”

Bright future indeed, this kid's pulling into slabs most will gnash their teeth about and then turn tail at the last minute.

Bright future indeed, this kid's pulling into slabs most will gnash their teeth about and then turn tail at the last minute.

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

Recipe for slab scoring in Scotland; a ski, a solid focussed swell and a healthy dose of reckless abandon at protruding rocks.

Recipe for slab scoring in Scotland; a ski, a solid focussed swell and a healthy dose of reckless abandon at protruding rocks.

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

So this was a redemption trip? “[laughs] good question. I really want to go back there again, there's still more I want to do and it's one of those waves that sticks in your mind. But it was so insane, such a good session, happy I went up there. It's a special place.

Oh just your casual entrance/exit then.

Oh just your casual entrance/exit then.

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp

“UK and Ireland have got some crazy waves though. Scotland, I bet there's so much to be explored up there still. There has to be amazing waves up in the islands.”

Hit play above for one of the gnarliest sessions out of Scotland we've ever seen.

Sweet, sweet redemption!

Sweet, sweet redemption!

© 2021 - Andrew J Kemp