This is a summary of the communications we have provided to our Accredited Surf Schools, Affiliated Surf Clubs and Surf Coach Members (provided within 24 hours of the government’s phased return to sport being published).
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The government’s position on 1:1 coaching and sports facilities and clubs:
Surfing England is working with Sport England and the Outdoor Recreation Stakeholder Group chaired by Natural England alongside other water-sport NGBs to try and provide consistency as we all move forward interpreting the position for our sports.
Individual Surfers and 1:1 Coaching
Individual surfers have been able to return to surfing whilst adhering to the hygiene and social distancing guidance since 13th May. There are currently no travel constraints on how far anyone can go to for recreational activity in England, which has created some tension between coastal communities and inland surfers, something we recognise and have reflected in our guidance.
From the 13th May, the government position also allowed for the return of 1:1 coaching observing the social distancing rules and with additional hygiene measures. Water safety must remain the no.1 priority for any 1:1 coaching activity and we have our recommendations for any coaches looking to deliver 1:1 coaching here:
Surf Schools and Clubs
The limit on gatherings, of no more than two (unless from the same household) remains in place, meaning it is not yet possible to deliver group lessons.
The exact wording is: The government is clear that sports participation should be restricted to participants exercising by themselves, or with members from their same household, or a minimum of two metres apart from one member of another household, observing social distancing guidelines. Venues are advised to display signs to this effect. The police have been given powers to enforce these measures.
We believe it is within the guidance that as a sports facility, surf schools can now open on a limited basis in line with the guidance, for 1:1 lessons only (for now) and provided the teaching is done outside and no indoor changing facilities are provided. It is an individual decision for surf schools on whether they choose to remain closed or start operating in this way. Ability to fulfil the guidance requirements, their insurance provision, local community feeling, impact on furloughed and self-employed staff etc will all play into the decision.
The full guidance for sports facilities must be adhered to and is here:
Surf Schools must be aware that should they open and breach the guidelines and deliver group lessons they are liable for enforcement action from the police and they may find their insurance is invalidated and Surfing England Accreditation rescinded.
Surfing England will continue to work with Sport England and Department for Media Culture and Sport to ensure surfing’s voice is heard. We can put questions from our members directly to Sport England’s ‘return to play’ team as we consider the next stages in our exit from lockdown and what it means for surfing.
A roadmap for surfing is under development with Sport England and will shortly be out for comment with our accredited schools.
A checklist for Accredited Surf Schools will also be issued shortly to assist with the review of operating procedures and risk assessments to support preparedness planning for the point when government reinstates the ability to deliver group sporting and recreation activities.
We also recommend you are in touch with your insurance providers to ensure you understand how your cover works during this period and any exemptions that may be in place due to coronavirus.
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