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Wondering where to go for an action-packed caravanning break? Well, I reckon Cornwall is hard to beat.
Of course the activity that springs to mind at the mention of Cornwall is surfing. And just down the lane from the Club's Godrevy Park site you'll find the excellent Gwithian Academy of Surfing, on the beach beside the Sandsifter.
If you've never caught a wave before this is where to start. It's a beautiful spot, the dune-backed beach stretching four miles from Godrevy Point to the Hayle Estuary. On top of that, the academy offers teaching for all levels.
A two-hour lesson is recommended for learning the basics - that should be enough to get you standing on the board in medium surf. The first half-hour is spent on the shore dealing with issues such as safety and 'self rescue'. Then you spend half an hour bodyboarding putting it all into practice.
The second half of the lesson starts on the beach again, learning how to get from lying on the board to standing - in the blink of an eye! Not only must it be done quickly, but you must be correctly positioned on the board to maintain balance.
Unsuprisingly you'll spend a lot of time hauling yourself onto the board for the paddle back out through the surf. Hence a second lesson is a good idea so you can get to grips with controlling the board.
It's very physical, so you need to be fit and able to swim 50m. Lessons are held twice daily from April to October, subject to conditions, with prices starting at £30 per session, including use of board and wetsuit. However, the more lessons you book, the cheaper it works out. For example, a two-day special, with four two-hour lessons, cost £85.
Start the day at one of Cornwall's best surfing beaches. Godrevy is nestled at the head of a four-mile, dune backed sandy crescent that stretches south towards St Ives. With quality peaks to surf along its length and plenty of room to spread out, everyone can enjoy their fill of waves, sometimes sharing the line-up with a pod of dolphins. It serves up a variety of conditions ideal for all comers; the exposed northern end hoovers up swell while the southern reaches generally offer smaller waves. Gwithian Academy of Surfing, run by former competitive surfer Tyson Greenaway, offers surfing lessons, coaching and equipment hire.
Through the windows of the Tate can be seen the other side of local culture – surfers, bobbing like black seals in the white water. It had to be done – so off we went to GAS, the Gwithian Academy of Surfing. Equipped with wetsuits and boards, we followed our instructor Chris down to the beach to be confronted by some large waves.
But as anyone who has ever tried it will tell you, surfing is totally addictive once you're in the water. It's surprisingly easy to get going, given the right conditions and a bit of sensible instruction.
The twins wanted more the next day and so did I....
Don't try to teach yourself - even a two hour lesson will set you up with the core surfing skills for life. I learnt to surf at Godrevy Beach, near Hayle, in Cornwall and that's a star place for novices. It's an immense sweep of sand with a lighthouse on the point and a resident seal colony. They often swim around your board. The lighthouse end is great for learners, the other is for savvy surfers - really good barrels roll in off the sandbank there.
Robyn recommends the Gwithian Academy of Surfing which has lessons from £30 and flats from £69 per night.
Just a quick note to say thank you for providing the surfing lessons through my employers activity funding. The tuition and advice provided by Freddie for our two lots of lessons was excellent and both myself and my son and daughter had a great time .
Hope to come back again one day .
Thanks once again.
All the best
Just wanted to say a big thank you to you all. My son Elliot has had a fantastic time - you have taken him from complete beginner to up and riding most waves in a week - the lesson package was super value and the loan of more advanced boards to practice on made this a great deal. Thanks especially to Dan, your hints and tips (even when he was practicing on his own) made a big difference. Thanks again for a brilliant week, see you soon.
To Dan, Freddie, Tyson, Tom, Chris, Ian, Rory and everyone at Gwithian Academy of Surfing!
Thank you so much for everything you've taught us over the last two weeks. We've had a great time! Can't wait to be back in October.
Lots of love from Cathy, Sam and Matthew.
hi ya, came from penryn college on wednesday last week - was my first time a surfing and i LOVED it. thanx.
Tyson, Thank you for the excellent lessons we had with Chris, his help and encouragement made for great surfing for my son and I.
Unfortunately we went home early due to our tent being flooded out, next year please ensure the weather is back to normal!
Thanks again, we’ll be back.
Dear Tyson, I am writing in thanks for all your support with the Sportlink Project.
Over the five years we have successfully reached over 660 young people, and this would not have been possible without the help and support of local sports and leisure clubs.
This project benefitted young people by increasing their self confidence, self esteem, motivation and most importantly made it possible for them to achieve positive futures.
Thank you once again, Rebecca
All at GAS,
Thanks for a fantastic week. Loved very minute! Have a great Summer.
Just a note to thank you for all your help during our recent visit to Cornwall. We had a great time and the boys all got on really well with their surfing. Best wishes.
Hello Tyson. Doesn't seem like a week since we were at Gwithian - I had a more successful day last Friday and was managing to stay upright longer (but not very elegantly). Just like to say Thankyou to everyone at GAS - Mark, Alice, Bentley, Rob, Ian - the surfing was brilliant and we all really enjoyed it. Everyone was really helpful. Doubtless will see you again, I'm itching to give it another try.
Hi, Just wanted to send a big thanks for the surfing tuition on our holiday in August. The weather was awful but the surfing was the saving grace of the holiday.
We thought Bob was a good instructor and the safety aspect was very re-assuring as some of our group were quite young.
To everyone at GAS: I would like to give a huge thank you for helping me have the best holiday I have had in a long time. The accommodation was perfect, if anything too large for me alone and the coaching standard can be proved by the results. Although I have a long way to go I feel as though I am surfing! And more that I had fun and the hard work never got in the way of that.
My only suggestion is would be to have a bus and train timetable on hand for those who don't have their own transport.
And a village store, but hopefully in a few years I could take care of that and fulfill a new beach life dream!!!
Thank you so much GAS.
Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for the great trip that we had this weekend!
It was really fun to learn how to surf and one of the most fantastic weekends I've had I think! I'm hoping to do a bit of surfing on holiday in America this summer, should be fun, and I'll definitely be coming back to Cornwall another time!
Thanks for being great instructors and nice blokes and helpful since I'm deaf and i was worried that i wouldn't be able to follow instructions but it all worked out fine!
Good afternoon Tyson, I just wanted to say that the surf lesson my friend Hayley and I had yesterday morning was brilliant, it was really enjoyable and your team who teach the classes are so friendly, helpful and just fab. Your classes were very professional and it was nice how everyone in the group was very social.
I really enjoyed myself and really enjoyed practicing after the lesson had finished. This is something I am definitely going to continue to practice as it something I really enjoyed. I am hoping to come down again later in the year and will be telling all my friends about your academy as a place to go and learn.
Have a super day, I hope the sunshine is still beautiful.
Tyson + Chris,
Just wanted to drop you two a quick email to say thanks for a great couple of hours on Saturday, never believed that I would be standing up by the end of my first lesson. Can't wait to get back down to the beach for another lesson and a bit more time in the water, hopefully with slightly bigger waves.
P.S. how do I tell my girl friend she's about to become a surf widow?