Sennen Surf Club History

Through the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, the club operated as an ‘adult surfers’ club. It had significant success in all 4 decades with several local surfers becoming regional, national and international (European) ‘elite performer’ surfers: e.g. Colin Wilson, Harvey Hoare, Robert Smith in the 60’s & 70’s to the ‘Smart’ brothers Sam/Lew/Seb, today.

Skewjack Tintin 1984

Harvey keeps an eye on the club as the current club president. His sons are now local RNLI beach lifeguards (Jack @ Gwynver beach and Harry @ Sennen Beach) Both Jack and Harry and are also the club’s safety advisors and occasional Groms club lifeguards.

The adult element of the surf club went into decline through the late 90’s.  Due to lack of support and no substantive activity the club was ‘mothballed’ in 2001.

The club ‘Juniors club’ (1st established in 1994 through the work of Mick Jackson and PT Urquhart), was able to continue with its own account and the help of 2 local area commercial businesses The Smart Surf School (2008-current) and The Sennen Surfing Centre Surf School (1994-2007)

Sennen Surf Club re-launch 2007

Through spring & summer of 2007 a local area RNLI-Lifeguards supervisor Steve Jamieson with the support of his employer set up a working team of local surfers to investigate his proposal to re-launch the surf club. The proposal being to:

  • Re-establish the surf club with a revised up-dated constitution
  • Form a club routine management team formed from the 2 ‘surf school’ commercial businesses and other ‘volunteer’ adult surfers.
  • Include key features of ‘beach lifeguarding’ and ‘ocean awareness’ objectives in the club’s surfing mission objectives
  • Establish a formal ‘club development’ plan to achieve the objectives of the revised constitution
  • Re-register the surf club with relevant NGBs

The meetings provided the basis from which to re-launch the club in May 2008.

Club house after

2008 – 2012, the ‘Grassroots’ phase

With a solid management team behind the surf club and commitment from the Smart Surf School to the project the club achieved a lot in the first 5 years since its reincarnation:

  • A ‘clubhouse’ building resource based at Sennen Cove
  • A ‘Groms & Juniors Club’ NB: A ‘grom surfer’ is the surfing name for a young surfer between ages 7-13. A ‘junior surfer’ is the surfing name for a young surfer between ages 14-16+
  • A ‘parents club’ to encourage parents of the ‘groms & juniors’ club members to volunteer their services as either ‘surfing coaches/instructors’ or ‘assistant coaches/instructors’ on ‘groms & juniors’ club surfing days.
  • Acquire essential material resources for: surfing & surf coaching-instructing, lifesaving & beach lifeguarding training, beach & sea activity ‘preparation & briefing’ indoor teaching & learning activity,
  • Weekly programmes for the following activities with all necessary ‘material’ and ‘personnel’ resources:
  • Surfing skills (May-September)
  • Sea ‘survive & save’ skills (May-September)
  • Lifesaving & swimming skills (January-May)
  • Beach lifeguard training (January-May)
  • Ocean awareness ‘teaching & learning’
  • Fitness ‘gym’ training
  • Social activities: e.g. surf camps, contests & BBQs

Instructor course at Gas

Grants and membership income were obtained to achieve the above objectives from the following organisations:

  • Sennen Surf Club Trustees (i/c savings a/c)
  • Cornwall Community Foundation Grants
  • RNLI-Lifeguards in conjunction with Royal Lifesaving Society-UK
  • Annual club membership fees & weekly ‘subscriptions’

Phase 1 membership and volunteers included the following achievements:

  • Approximately 30 participating ‘family’ groups
  • Smart Surf School providing surfboards, wetsuits and ‘instructor’ resources without charge
  • Up to 30 children & young people attending ‘groms’ surfing days
  • Up to 10 young people attending ‘juniors’ surfing days
  • Up to 10 parents attending ‘parents club’
  • Previous ‘Groms Club’ developing into ‘elite surfer’ category: e.g. Lowenna Murley, Beth Bainbridge, Mike Lay, Mathew Travis, Christian Jackson, Seb Smart
  • Previous ‘groms & juniors’ club members developing and transferring to ‘coaching assistant & lifeguarding’ young adults either as club volunteers or employees for RNLI-Lifeguards services, swimming pool lifeguard services and/or surf schools coaching services
  • Parents and volunteer adults gaining lifeguarding and surf coaching qualification
  • The establishing of an annual ‘local area inter-groms & juniors club’ contest programme
  • Start & end of season surfing & BBQ social event days
  • Major repairs, refurbishment of the Sennen Cove Recreation Centre building to make the building fit-for-purpose as a surfing clubhouse, gym, surf coaching & lifeguarding teaching & learning centre, R&R space
  • Provision of essential furniture & fittings for clubhouse resources

Rookie Certificates 2010

2013, the start of the ‘Green shoots’ phase of the club

Which brings us to today, we are now into the ‘green shoots’ phase of the club and over the next 5 years we’ll be focusing on:

  • Continuing  the success of the Groms Club
  • Extend the ‘surfing survive & save’ volunteer training programmes
  • With the high performance coaching resources of Smart Surf School, develop the ‘Juniors 14-16 Club’ to produce ‘elite surfer’ abilities progression
  • With the club’s RLSS-UK affiliation continue to deliver their lifeguarding & lifesaving programmes
  • Re-launch the historical ‘May Contest’ intra-club (adult) surfing contest
  • Develop a club team (adults) for the ‘October Contest’ inter-club national surfing contest
  • Contribute to the regional and national ‘schools surfing contest’ programme by developing individual ‘Junior’ surfers’ ‘elite surfing’ abilities
  • Organise ‘surf camp’ weekends and weeks in local and ‘other’ surfing areas: e.g. Devon, France, Portugal, etc
  • Re-launch the surf club’s historical end-of-season ‘surf dance’ social event