The government advice is changing daily, this note reflects the position on the 22/03/2020 and is not a substitute for checking the advice directly on .gov.uk.
Should I be surfing through the coronavirus crisis?
This is a question heavy on many surfers minds. The government has issued advice to help with that call, so you can make a decision that reflects both your personal circumstances and your wider social obligations.
Our guiding principle here, is that we follow the advice from government. So let’s break that down.
- If you or someone you live with has coronavirus or symptoms, then you should be staying at home and self isolating. This means not going surfing.
The guidance on self isolation is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
- Everyone should be following the guidance on social distancing, which is about reducing social interaction to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The guidance does allow for outside exercise (staying >2 meters from other people). The full guide is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
It is an individual decision based on your specific circumstances. Someone caring for high risk family members is bound to have a different perspective compared to someone with no dependants.
If you do decide to head out, please bear in mind the stress on all our emergency and healthcare services and don’t take any unnecessary risks, surf well within your capabilities and take care getting to and from the sea. You may also want to consider going at quieter times and please take note of any local notices as certain beaches or access points may have restrictions.
What is Surfing England doing in response to coronavirus?
We’re keeping a very close brief on the government’s guidance, which provides the backbone to all our decision making through this period. The steps we are taking include:
- Regular updates for our surf schools and clubs on the evolving position, so they can make informed decisions about their operations
- Updates on the governments support packages and how our surf schools will be able to access vital financial support
- Closing the Surfing England office and our team are all working remotely
- Our full events programme is under review, including announcement of our AGM, for which we are investing online options
- We are in touch with Sport England to understand what support may be available for clubs and the sport more widely
- Our surf coach trainers are working with us and the ISA to look at developing online modules so we help new coaches and make sure the industry is ready to pick back up when we are through the crisis
Why haven’t the beaches been closed like Spain and other EU countries?
We have been challenged on this a few times. It’s important to be clear on two points.
Firstly, the response in each country is based on their specific situation. Factors like levels of infection, population size, density and demographic, cultural and societal norms, availability of healthcare etc all play into that country’s decision. Because the situation is different for everyone, you will continue to see a range in the type and level of response between nations.
Secondly, it is simply not our call or within our power to close beaches or ban surfing. That responsibility sits with the UK government and we will continue to follow their advice.
We are in unchartered waters, and we don’t have all the answers, but we’re 100% committed to supporting, and pulling together with our amazing surfing community to get us through these tough times.
Stay in touch with us on social and keep safe.
Operations Director, Surfing England