The Welshman Who Is Using The Oceans Power To Propel Welsh Surfing

Mark Vaughan has spent his years searching for perfection out on the waves. The Welsh surfer’s competitive spirit pushes him forward as he gears up for another year of competitive action, as well as presiding over the role of director of the Welsh Surfing Federation (WSF).

His duties are all encompassing; from PR and sponsorship to running events and picking international teams, he does it all.

The 48-year-old from Llantwit Major also shares his time with his family and, as if he wasn’t busy enough, he is a director at both McLays and MiPost.

The Welsh surfer is probably one of the rare people to have stayed in the sport for so long, and having surfed all around the world, insists he is ready for year 33 of his competitive career as he gears up towards the Welsh Nations, which will be held in his hometown next month.

Vaughan said:

“I am an extremely competitive person by nature and that really drove me to chase titles. At 15, I won my Welsh National U16’s but it took until I was 32 before I managed to scoop the Men’s Open title.

“I won the British Junior Championship in 1992, beating Russell Winter who is the only British surfer to make the World Tour. He’s an incredible competitor, so to beat him at that stage was a great achievement.”

“I’ve travelled all over the world, been to some great places. The Mentawai Islands, off the coast of Sumatra, is definitely one of the best places I have surfed. The South-West of France is an amazing spot and Hawaii is a very special place too.”

As well as a keen competitor, Vaughan has taken up the role as Director of the WSF over the past three years and is passionate about growing the sport in Wales.

Vaughan is a successful businessman in his own right and has had to work around his full-time job at McLays throughout his career, whether that is competing or working tirelessly to support the sport in Wales.

“I’m renowned for not sleeping much, hours can be long in work, and I have four children who keep me busy. I’ve certainly inherited my parents’ energy; I don’t tend to stop for long. My key is to just stay up longer,” added Vaughan.

Vaughan hopes that the sport can keep growing in Wales and the signs are positive, with rising numbers of people becoming involved in the sport combined with the announcement that surfing will be included in the Olympic Games.

Having first represented his country in 1989, Vaughan last surfed for Wales in October 2022. Over that time, he has competed all over the world for Wales and Great Britain.

Vaughan said:

“There’s a part of me where I am constantly looking to improve, I’m always chasing that perfection. Surfing as a sport is in a really strong place at the moment in Wales. The foundations for success are there for Welsh Surfing can push forward in the coming years.’’

But Vaughan knows all too well that Surfing can be a frustrating sport at times, especially in the UK. Even so, he credits the community and the friends that he has met during his days in competitive surfing with making it so special for him and many others in Wales.