Team England Elite Open Programme Autumn Update
The coming months are set to be a packed out schedule for Team England, the SUP Team have just returned from a 14th in The SUP World Surfing Games, the Junior shortboarders depart for Japan in the coming days for their World Junior Surfing Games and the Adaptive Team are preparing for their World Surfing Games in November whilst our Longboarders will have their sights set on their World Surfing Games in China. However one notable absence from this schedule is Team England Open, who today announce their non-attendance of the EuroSurf Championships in Norway.
Following their very successful World Surfing Games campaign in France earlier this year the team will not be attending the event in Norway and will instead be focusing all resources on 2018 and beyond.
The decision not to submit Team England from EuroSurf has not been taken lightly and comes after months of work by the elite programmes volunteer management. The high cost to attend these events to the surfers remains a continual frustration to all. Following a selection process by the volunteer management, over twenty of England’s elite surfers have since declined their place at the event, citing a lack of financial resource or availability issues as the prohibitors to their representation.
The issue of lack of financial support for these surfers is ongoing and applies to all elite programmes, an issue which sees volunteer management and Surfing England continually looking to solve through sponsorship and team financing/fundraising.
The focus for many of the elite programme surfers lay in upcoming World Surf League events which they self-finance attendance of, and the impending Olympic qualification announcement, which it is hoped will be made in early 2018 by the International Surfing Association, has English surfers focussed on a potential Olympic qualification.
With Surfing England’s very recent recognition by Sport England as the National Governing Body for Surfing, the body continues its work on its strategy for the sport, which includes achieving the necessary support networks for elite surfers, alongside participation and governance work covering the wide spectrum of interests across the English surfing community.
“The World Surfing Games in France was an amazing start to Team England’s international campaigns, but to ask Surfers to support themselves through two international events in 6 months is a big ask, we understand their position and now focus on tackling it, our attention is on building a sustainable and flourishing future that we can be proud of with athlete support a major part of this” said Dave Renaud, Team England Open Head Coach.
Surfing England estimate the 2017 elite programme costing at approximately £75,000, which includes short board juniors and open, adaptive and SUP, most of which as it stands is financed through the surfers themselves and so the challenge is on to raise and secure this for the future events and generations to come.
“This situation shows the importance of achieving proper support for the elite programmes, we’ve taken the most important step of all by achieving NGB recognition this year, now our focus lay in maximising the impact of this for long term development through proper strategic funding applications, not just for elite surfers but across the sport” said Bruce Daniel, Chair of the Surfing England volunteer directors.
Surfing England is also focusing on building a performance platform to maximise the opportunity for sponsors to be able to support the vision. Solid progress has been made and we can share this positive news in the New Year.
Surfing England welcomes any volunteers that feel they can contribute to programmes or the organisation to come forward and play their part in driving the sport forward in England.