Huge achievement for Tom Butler and Coastal Crusaders as two surfers with disabilities/mental health conditions gain Surf Coach qualifications

At Surfing England, we love to hear news and stories from our community. We were so stoked to find out Tom Butler of Coastal Crusaders, with the support of Barrie Hall of Surf Coach Academy, were starting the journey of teaching Louis and Aiden the ISA Level 1 Surf Coach course. In what may be a World’s first, we are so proud of all that has been achieved from everyone involved as Louis and Aiden pass the course! Read on for the write up from Tom…

This is a world first and it makes our company super proud to be a part of it. As lots of you know, we set up Coastal Crusaders CIC in 2019.

During our humble beginnings as a start-up and while navigating the global pandemic and lockdowns…We are stoked to look back at this time and know we have worked with over 80 Cornish youngsters. Delivering our range of ocean sports to motivate and inspire our local beneficiaries. A big part of what we do at the company is 1. Help engrain more self-esteem and confidence through guided sports and positive feedback, while improving mental and physical health through all of our activities; and 2. Provide education for the youngsters to better understand the ocean and how to remain safe in the ocean and offer some guidance on how best to protect the environment the sports are delivered within. We all know Green and Blue spaces are so important for our Mental Health, all-round vision and we are having amazing results with the youngsters we are working with.

If you’ve seen Tommy Butler coaching on the beach, you will have noticed he spends quite a bit of the week with Louis and Aiden, the TWO WORLDS FIRSTS!

Our CIC was contracted through the local authority to deliver for both Louis and Aiden their health and education plan. With the different disabilities and conditions both the young men have, they receive some funding, to help better prepare them for adult life. Tom B has been surf coaching with both young men for a number of years previous to this education and training being delivered. Upon consultation with their families and Louis and Aiden themselves we had the idea of having a go at their International Surfing Association Level 1 surf coaching award.

We had a national lockdown and a pandemic to deliver through.

At times Tom was teaching the theory to the guys through two PVC plastic sheets, a face mask, and a visor, so the year definitely had its challenges. Tom continues to say, “Being totally honest, getting out of the house and continuing with this course and routine was really important to my own mental health. It dawned on me halfway through the year, that this may be a world first if we can gain this qualification. We are thrilled that the ISA have recognized this massive achievement and hope it inspires more people who have disabilities to get out there and push for qualifications that can open up many more exciting and rewarding opportunities for work and rewarding life experiences.” Read Louis and Aiden’s Mums positive words around this achievement in the quotes below and Barrie Hall of Surf Coach Academy (course examiner) words also below!

Lastly thank you so much @koalakarlous for providing the sound and @hobosurfmedia ( Dan Hobson) for editing this short roundup video, showing more in depth what happened last year.

Louis Sutton is a Team England squad member. In this photo he’s competing at our 2021 dryrobe English Adaptive Surfing Open at The Wave, Bristol.

Suzanne Sutton: It’s hard to put into words how much Tom Butler & Coastal Crusaders have given to Louis & in turn, to us as a family. What they have all achieved over the past year is incredible. To watch Louis & Aiden gain in self-worth & belief &, as a result, achieve what they have is priceless. Tom & all involved, have given them a purpose & a future by telling them ” you can. ” For that we will always be grateful.

Vicky Coxhead: “I am so immensely proud of Aiden’s achievement. Sport is Aiden’s passion and purpose in life, and he is now able to support others like him to experience the freedom of the ocean. Aiden is an incredible role model and is proof that disability or neurodivergence does not stop you from living your very best life.”

Barrie Hall, Course assessor It has been a pleasure and great experience working with Aiden, Louis and Tom from Coastal Crusaders. I am stoked that I have been able to facilitate the ISA / Surfing England level 1 coach course for these guys. In my 25 years as a surf coach trainer/assessor , I have never worked with students with such special learning needs. We adapted the programme with a bespoke approach that worked for them , whilst still maintaining standards and the required teaching /learning and assessment process. I am so pleased that these 2 guys have passed the course and will now go forward to do their practical training hours with supervision from Tom at Coastal Crusaders. This will be a fantastic opportunity for Aiden and Louis to improve their lives and contribute to others learning to surf.

Already a member?

Sign in to access your discount codes, insurance and membership info

Log into my Surfing England account
Join Today