Over the 20 years we have been running surf lessons at Croyde we have taken a few VIP guests into the waves. Journalists, BBC Weathermen, musicians and even a few boisterous K9’s have all been surfing with us. However, in September we had an incredible experience when the Elite squad from the British Paralympic Swimming team came to spend two days with us in Croyde as part of their preparation for the Olympics next summer in Rio.
The squad was in Croyde with their team manager and Sport Psychologist as part of a team building camp. Dubbed Multi – Au, which stands for Multi Gold, all the athletes in the group are expected to win multiple medals at next years Olympic Games in Rio.
Over two days our full team of senior coaches took the group through a mix of classroom, beach and water sessions, covering a range of topics from beach configuration and associated hazards, water skills and surfing technique. The final water session saw the squad put all their new surfing knowledge and skills to the test in a tag team competition.
The attitude and approach that everyone in the squad had was completely inspiring and all our coaches working on the lessons felt privileged to have the opportunity to coach such elite level athletes. The squad all had varying classifications of disabilities. All of our coaches enjoyed having to adapt their approach to their coaching and equipment choice to ensure that each member of the team was able to achieve as much as possible from the water sessions.
During only their 2nd surf session, everyone in the squad was paddling out the back to take off on waves, regularly getting rides all the way to the sand. The stoke during all the sessions was sky high. Hoots, cheers, whistles and high fives were aplenty, with everyone in the water either riding waves or assisting the session having a blast.
All our coaches who worked with the GB squad all said how focused, determined and dedicated each of the team members were with their approach to learning to surf. Everyone pushed their limits in an unfamiliar environment, but were able to respond with impressive success to the coaching instructions they were given. It was easy to see how all the athlete’s are at the very highest level of their chosen sport. The atmosphere that the team created around the school while they were here was fantastic, and everyone has been buzzing ever since.
The whole team at Surf South West wishes the Multi – Au Paralympic GB Swimming squad all the best in Rio. We can’t wait to follow your progress both leading up to and during the games.