Surf's up

Surfer at Godrevy, Cornwall. © Ben Selway

Surfer at Godrevy, Cornwall.

Do you love the sea? Well we do… The National Trust cares for over 742 miles of coastline and is big on surfing, with over 2000 members regularly visiting our coast to get their feet wet.

As Devon and Cornwall are the home to the British surfer, this makes it an ideal base for our new surfing project, run by five-time British surf champion Robyn Davies.

Why we’ve done it
We’ve set this project up in response to requests from local surfers, who are keen to get more involved in protecting the countryside.

We also want to highlight just how stunning our coastline is and show you how we care for the waters around our little island, as well as increasing support from the young surfing community.

By creating new volunteering opportunities, surfing events and eco-surf lessons for schools, we’re hoping to get your help in our work to protect our stunning coast through conservation and regeneration projects. 

Robyn, Surf Project Officer for the National Trust, says: 'The Trust was set up to look after special places for us all to enjoy and, as a charity, it needs help to look after our coastline. Whether you surf, kayak, walk the coastal footpath, or just enjoy watching the waves roll in to shore, we all get the same feeling from the sea and the coastal environment. We connect with it. It fulfils us all in some way. This is what the Surf Project is all about – instilling a great love and ownership for our coastline in people’s hearts. Ultimately, I hope that more people will want to take part, no matter how small, in helping to look after this wonderful environment.'

Getting to know the locals
Robyn’s involvement with local communities and schools is a hugely important part of this project. The Boarder Series, a school-age surfing competition for 11 to 16 year-olds, provides opportunities for talented young surfers to get ahead in their game, while at the same time encouraging them to clean up their beaches. This creates awareness amongst next-generation surfers about our ‘plastic battle’ - the issue of marine litter. Entrants gain extra points before the competition day by taking part in beach clean-ups, helping to keep their, and your, playgrounds pristine.

Surfing ambassadors
Another ingenious way that Robyn is reaching out to the next surfing generation is through surfing ambassadors, a five-strong team of top UK surfers:

  • Alan Stokes
  • Celine Gehert
  • Daniel ‘Mole’ Joel
  • Jayce Robinson
  • Kathleen Spears

They all ride with the National Trust oak leaf symbol on the top of their boards, promoting us in photo shoots and raising the profile of our work by telling the surf media what we do.

Surfing holidays
It’s not just surfers in the 11 to 26 age bracket that we’re hoping to reach though; Robyn has also utilised the Trust’s popular working holidays by setting up a competition to win a surfing working holiday, advertised and promoted at the famous Ripcurl Boardmasters event and in the surfing media.

Out of a huge number of diverse applicants, ten lucky winners were able to take part in the holiday, all agreeing that the week increased their knowledge of our involvement in coastal conservation.

It had the added goal of promoting what we do to an audience that would not normally associate us with surfing. A brilliant outcome has been that six of the ten winners now volunteer for the National Trust in their local area.

We protect some of the best surfing spots in Devon and Cornwall, including Godrevy, Chapel Porth, Holywell Bay, Crantock and Woolacombe.

To find out more about the surfing project and see what you can do to get involved contact  robyn.davies@nationaltrust.org.uk