It’s been an extraordinarily busy 2022 for the Wave Project North Devon who are based here with us at Surf South West.

In July, the North Devon team travelled to Watergate Bay, Cornwall where Ian Bennet and Jaz Bennet had organised the Summer Surf Challenge event. The event invites young people with disabilities to come and experience surfing. It was a huge success, with more than 60 young people entering the water to surf in a single day. The Summer Surf Therapy courses have also been a triumph, with over 25 new young people experiencing the joy of a six week therapy course. It’s now all systems go for the Autumn Surf Therapy course and we can’t wait.

As you know, here at Surf South West we are proud to be a centre of adaptive surfing excellence. The adaptive surfing sessions that Ian and The Wave Project team have held here have been in great demand, reflecting the growing global popularity of the sport. A huge thanks to all the volunteers involved as without them, these surf sessions would not be possible.

Talking about volunteers, we’d also like to mention The Wave Project fundraisers too. Firstly, a big shout out to the Croyde Village Sunday Market who allowed the Wave Project to sell their vast second hand wetsuit collection during the summer months. This gave pre-loved wetsuits a new lease of life as well as supporting the work of The Wave Project ND.

Another big thank you to Andrew McCausland and the team who raised more funds for the Wave Project through a coffee morning in the newly refurbished Georgeham Chapel. Then there was the Georgeham and Croyde WI who also did a sterling job of raising money for the project through their plant sale. Huge thanks also to two invincible Wave Project fundraisers, Sara, who completed three marathons in three days and Rachel, who completed a swim-run in Wales. Well done ladies, we salute you! The Wave Project North Devon was also successful in their application to Tescos community grants scheme at the beginning of the summer, You will still be able to vote for them with your tokens in the three Tesco stores in Barnstaple and the one in Ilfracombe up until the end of September.

people doing adaptive surfing

In July Adaptive Surfing Lead Ian left Croyde to go and support the organisation and running of Surfing England’s Adaptive Surfing Open at the Wave Project, Bristol. It was great so see so many surf instructors and adaptive surfers from North Devon in attendance and doing so well. Surf Club has was also in full swing all summer, and this year surf club coordinator Bryony made a partnership with North Devon National Trust. This enabled children in the Surf Club to enjoy tree conservation activities and attend workshops about habitats and wildflowers in the AONB and Biosphere.

And of course a big mention for Cliff for his incredible fundraising event. At 39 Cliff experienced a stroke, drastically changing the course of his life. A few years ago he came surfing with the Wave Project here at Surf South West and he hasn’t looked back. Last summer he got back to his feet on a board for the first time in many years, and this year he set himself a mega challenge. On 6th July he cycled from Braunton to Saunton, swam from Saunton to Croyde then walked across Croyde beach to finish his triathlon.

people doing adaptive surfing

Cliff raised over £2000 to support the continuation of Adaptive Surfing here in North Devon. Huge thanks to the North Devon RNLI lifeguards who supported the swim with their staff and equipment too. And then of course there was the second Foamie Invitational at Croyde organised by our very own Jack Patching. It was a momentous day for all at Croyde, and although we’re still totting up the monies raised, we can confirm that it is well up to £1000 already. They’ll be more news on our socials soon about this but well done Jack for all your hard efforts!

Just before we close, other important news is the arrival of a new seated board donated by the brain charity, Cerebra. You might well see this out and about at Croyde as it is an invaluable piece of equipment. It means that 2 seated surfers can be taken out at the same time which is a real game changer for groups of surfers with greater needs. So, we’ll end here with photos of Freddy and Zoe who travelled all the way from Gloucester to come surfing with The Wave Project ND here at SSW. They loved it so much they booked in again as soon as they got home. We’ll leave you with a quote from Freddy’s Mum as she says it best.

“It’s written all over his face. The biggest smile and no hesitation in repeating, repeating and repeating surfing more. After 2 years of Covid restrictions, staying in and being apart from friends and loved ones, he is finally getting out to do something challenging, fun and sociable. This has really helped bring Freddy back to being his sunny old self. A big thank you to The Wave Project from all of us!”
For more information on The Wave Project