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Frequently Asked Questions

I have never surfed before, is Harlyn  Surf School right for me? --  Most of our students have never surfed before so don’t worry about being the only beginner! All that matters is that you can swim 25m and that you are ready to have the time of your life!

Is Harlyn Surf School regulated? -- Yes. We are really proud that our surf school is an ASI Accredited Training Centre so you can rest assured we have all the correct qualifications, insurance cover and so on.  We also have an Adventure Activity Licence and what’s more, Harlyn Surf School is one of only a very few Surf Life Saving GB Accredited lifeguard training centres in the UK.

Why should I select Harlyn Surf School? -- Our 19 years of experience is unrivalled and we have been teaching people how to surf longer than anyone else in the area. It takes a long time to discover and learn the best teaching and skill development techniques and we have this down to a fine art.

Our location, Harlyn beach is the safest learning beach in the area and described as an "undiscovered gem" by the Sunday Times. It has all the facilities and is perfect for families, groups or individuals and has recently been voted as one of the top 5 family beaches in the UK. It is the closest beach to Padstow, and St.Merryn. Have a look at our location page

Instructors,  We believe in offering you outstanding customer service and the highest level of surf tuition. Any programme is only as good as its staff and their training. The calibre of our surf instructors is probably our greatest asset. At Harlyn Surf School, our team are incredibly highly trained and motivated, totally dedicated to helping you learn new skills. Our instructors work with you in small well structured groups so you have a  fantastic and productive learning experience and stay safe at all times. All our staff are CRB checked, experienced in coaching and working with children. 

There are a lot of surf schools to choose from in Cornwall. Surf is a big industry here and so there are quite a few operators that have jumped on the bandwagon and offer a ‘splash and dash’ experience, sometimes at what may seem like an attractive price. Unfortunately, some of these surf schools are on beaches that are not really suitable for beginners, which is a bit like a novice skier trying to start out on black runs rather than the nursery slopes. So please do choose your surf school with care, as it is so important to learn surfing from a truly professional surf school.

What courses does Harlyn Surf School offer? -- At harlyn Surf School we like to think that we have something for everyone,  private lessons,  group lessons, surf combinations, kids birthday parties and a whole lot more. We also offer coasteering, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and have a great range of equipment for hire and for sale, check out our shop online and on the beach. 

Where do the surf lessons take place? --  All of our surf lessons take place at Harlyn Bay, the safest and best beach in the area to learn to surf. Our stand up paddleboard lessons take place either at Harlyn bay or on the beautiful Camel estuary in Padstow.

Can we keep the kit after the surf lesson has finished? --  After your surf lesson, we ask you to return the equipment. However, if you want to hire the equipment from us to practice in your own time, then we can arrange this for a small charge.  Just check out our Surf Hire page.

After taking a beginners surf lesson, will I need any more lessons? -The first surf lesson gives you the basics, gets you standing up on your board in the white-water surf zone, keeping you as safe as possible while you have loads of fun! If you want to progress to the ‘outback’ and ride unbroken waves, then you will need more surf lessons. Usually 4-6 lessons are enough for you to master the basics and be ready to go out and practice on your own.  However, this depends on a number of factors, such as fitness and stamina, surf conditions, winds and tides. Check out our Lessons and Courses. 

How many surf lessons do you recommend? -- This is down to your available time, budget, commitment, fitness levels and aspirations. For a beginner, we would normally recommend at least 2 or 3 lessons to start off as this would allow for a reasonable progression. However, for a more fulfilling development with a view to being able to keep on surfing for the rest of your life, a 5 or 6 lesson course is advisable.  By the end of this, it is usually possible to get to a level where you could go out on your own and practice your skills.

How many surf lessons a day do you recommend on a course of lessons? --  Once again, this depends on your personal circumstances. As a general rule, if you have time, our recommendation is to take one surf lesson a day if you are on a longer course.  This allows for plenty of rest between sessions. We tend to see better levels of progression from our students with this structure and motivation levels remain higher.Surfing is a demanding sport and people often overestimate how much they will be able to achieve quickly. Taking it easy and giving 100% on the session is the way to go.

What if I have a medical condition? Can I still take part in surf lessons? -- All customers must complete the course booking / enrolment form prior to their surf lesson. This gives us information on your medical condition and it is not disclosed to any third party. Please contact us in advance if you have any concerns about your health. 

What times are the lessons at Harlyn Surf School? --  We run surf courses from 10am – 12 noon and 2 – 4pm, meeting at our surf centre on the beach 30 minutes before the start time. During peak periods we have classes available from 4 – 6pm. Private 1:1 lessons are available at any time.

I have been surfing for a while and I don’t want beginner type group lessons. What else can you offer?

Every single surfer or sportsperson, regardless of level, will always benefit from coaching.  We offer improver and developer lessons specifically aimed at surfers who are looking to develop their skills. We can cater for everyone from a first time novice surfer to a competition level surfer.

What age range are your students? --  We have students of all ages from 5yrs old upwards. There is no upper age limit and we have introduced people in their sixties and seventies to the fun of surfing and paddleboarding.

Do you provide all the surfing equipment? -- Yes. We use foam surfboards with safety fins for all of our beginners and have a range of other boards for improvers. We use some of the best wetsuits on the market  - XCel and Tikki  and we have a winter and summer range. However, if you have your own equipment, you are of course welcome to bring it along.

What do I need to bring? --  You will need to bring a towel, sunblock, clothing suitable for the weather on the day, some money for refreshments and photos and plenty of enthusiasm!

Do I need to book? -- It is best to book in advance.  If you leave it to the last minute or just drop in, there are no guarantees we will be able to fit you in.  Many days, particularly in the height of summer, can be fully booked. We work to strict coaching ratios, so this places limitations on us with staffing levels.  The earlier you can book your surf lessons, the better as this means you will definitely be able to have surf lessons at the time you want.

How do I book my surf course? --  Most of our surf courses (except those that include accommodation or special courses) can be booked online and we have a secure site for online payment. You will receive confirmation of your booking by email. 

For all accommodation packages, we will check for availability and then get back to you at the earliest opportunity. We endeavour to answer all enquiries within 24 hours.  Depending on the type of booking, a deposit may be required. This can be paid over the telephone, using a debit or credit card or via internet banking.  Some bookings, especially large groups, will require full payment 14 days before arrival. After booking, a confirmation will be emailed or posted with all the information you require.

What sort of payment do you accept? --  We accept most major credit and debit cards, cheques or cash

What if conditions are unsuitable on the day? --  When learning to surf novices need small surf conditions similar to how a novice skier learns on the gentle nursery slopes. Feeling safe and comfortable enhances learning much faster. We operate from one of the safest and best learn to surf beaches in CornwallIn the rare event that conditions are unsuitable for surfing we will make every effort to reschedule your lesson. This does not happen often. In fact, we average a 96% surfability factor during our season so days are rarely missed. If we cannot reschedule we will credit you with a voucher that will be valid for 12 months. In exceptional circumstances such as bereavement or serious illness, we may issue a refund. Please note that your travel insurance may provide a full refund if the reason for your cancellation falls within the terms of your policy so we recommend clients take out a suitable insurance policy prior to booking a surfing course with us.



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Tel: +44 (0)1841 533076
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