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Writer's Life 

Surf South West Surf - A Centre of Surfing Excellence and so much more.

I'm delighted to be working with one of the largest and most progressive surf schools in the country, Croyde based Surf South West.

Really honoured to be working on some PR projects and blogs with one of the best surf schools in the country, ney the world. When it opened back in 1996, it was the only surf school in Croyde, a small North Devon bay which in recent years, has grown into one of the UK’s most vibrant surfing epicentres.

Now heralded as a Gold Standard Surf Club and a Surfing England Centre of Excellence, owners John Ellis and Will Hammond, continue to develop the school and are proud of their team who have each help to make it one of the premiere, internationally recognised surf schools in the world. Key to their success is that Surf South West is one of a minority of schools offering the much prized and globally recognised Surfing England/International Surfing Association Level 2 Surf Instructor Qualification. The school now embraces the latest sports technology and video equipment to ensure its professional standards are maintained. In addition they continue to employ local professionals such as Champion Surfer and Strength and Condition expert, Beau Bromham which has has ensured that the school retains its well established position as a global leader in the provision of surf courses.

Adding to this success is the schools ethos of supporting a wide variety of dynamic and award winning community projects all of which are forging new cultural paradigms through the sport of surfing. These include Wave Wahines CIC, which was set up by local surfer Yvette Curtis five years ago to empower and increase self confidence in girls and women via surfing. It’s a project that breaks downs barriers and female stereotypes; tackles cultural inequalities and supports diversity and equality in surfing for women of all ethnicities. All Wave Wahines weekly surf sessions are based at the club with Surf South West instructor Karma Worthington heading up the surf tuition. In recent weeks, the club has even hosted visits from young girls from war torn Syria, some of whom had never even been into the sea, let alone surfed it.

Yvette comments “The team at Surf South West have been fantastic. From the very beginning they’ve believed in what I was trying to create and they have fully supported me from the offset. Our relationship has just grown and grown over the past 5 years and Wave Wahines just wouldn’t be what it is today had it not been for Surf South West and their fabulous team. I truly owe them so much.”  

The same sentiments are very much re-iterated by the team at The Wave Project North Devon – the world’s first ‘surf therapy’ course funded by a government health service to help young people improve their emotional and physical well being through surfing.

Jasmine Bennett, Wave Project North Devon Coordinator states, “We are so grateful to work with Surf South West, an amazing surf school at one of the best surfing beaches in the UK. I can’t wait to see more children and young people enjoy our Surf Therapy courses in collaboration with them this year.”

The Wave Project has also become greatly involved in providing Adaptive Surf Sessions which is currently one of the fastest globally growing sectors of the sport. Children and adults with physical challenges can now surf in safety and it’s Surf South West that are at the centre of the activity. The Wave Project now holds regular Adaptive Surfing sessions based at the surf school as well as their Adaptive Surfing Volunteer Certification courses.

The Wave Project’s Adaptive Surfing Lead, Alan Bennett, states, “Traditionally we partnered with Surf South West to run one to ones for various local adaptive surfers but we always felt that being such a social sport, our adaptive surfers should have the same group opportunities that other surfers have. Funding from Active Devon has made this all possible and we are really proud to say that Surf South West has now become one of our first Adaptive Surf Centres of Excellence based here in England. The team have been fantastic, so much so that some of them will be joining our Adaptive Surfing Roadshow which will be promoting the sport all round the country. Surf South West really has be a driving force behind Adaptive Surfing in recent years, basically all our activities were initiated at the club and we are incredibly grateful for all their support and vision.”

Mel is an wheelchair user that now attends the Wave Project Adaptive Surf sessions. Paralysed from the waist down after a spinal chord injury and in constant pain she explains, “I’ve always loved the water so these sessions are so important to me. They give me freedom and when I’m surfing it’s the one time that I can forget about the pain I’m in.” Mel continues, “I’m never scared because I have absolute confidence in the team - besides, I’m having far to much fun to be frightened. Surfing with a group is great too, especially as my boyfriend surfs with us as well.” Mel loves the surf sessions so much that she is now a volunteer with the Wave Project and is not only an important member of the team but a great ambassador for the sport as well.

Ocean and coastal protection is also another hugely important subject that Surf South West are keen to be involved in. The Wave Rangers Project is an offshoot of the Wave Project whereby 10-20 year olds are invited to develop there environmental awareness through a variety of environmental projects. They do this by helping to tackle climate change by volunteering for local community activities that help maintain their local coastal environment. On completion of each project the Wave Rangers are rewarded by a Surf South West surf session! What’s not to love.

John states, “Will and I always believed that the surfing was a powerful medium to bring about transformation. Surfing communities around the world are now strong forces for environmental, educational and culture change and we wanted Surf South West to be at the forefront of that movement. It all goes back to that ethos of being the best that you can possibly be. We don’t just want to be the best surf school that we can be, we want to be the best human beings that we can be.”

If you’d like to find out more about Surf South West or would like to join the family of excellence please drop in to meet the gang. Email them on or call 01271 890400.

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