Surfing England Awards – who took the top?

In a move to celebrate the fantastic people in our surfing community, we launched new awards for 2022, supported by korev lager. We had some brilliant nominations for all three categories which created lots of discussion for the panel. When it came down to the crunch, here’s who received awards…

Surf Club Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Zoe Sheath, Newquay Boardriders

Zoe has been a driver of action at Newquay Boardriders, where the club house overlooks the iconic Fistral Beach. Her input has been recognised as she’s geared the club up following covid and a delayed renovation of the club house. She has worked hard to bring new faces and experiences to the club, setting up a regular grom club, older groms coaching, and is looking into starting ladies’ sessions. As well as performance surfing, there’s also been an increase of fun contests, such as foamie events. This hard work does not go unnoticed and is supported by some other brilliant committee members at Newquay Boardriders.

On receiving the award Zoe said “A huge thank you to whoever nominated me for this award, it means so much to me to know the time and work that I and all of the committee do is appreciated and that we are on the right path to building a great surf club. I want nothing more than for Newquay Boardriders to provide a safe place and community for our kids to grow and to be able to provide every opportunity possible to progress their surfing. I am so proud of what we have accomplished this last year and how much we have planned for the future of the club.”

Team England Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Jamie Wride, Team England Junior Manager

A true unsung hero, Jamie works incredibly hard behind the scenes for Team England Juniors. He leads the charge for organising training camps and travel and competition at International Events. Jamie used most of his annual leave to support the team at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships, where Sam Hearn placed an incredible 6th, and the European Junior Surfing Championships, where Team England took home a historical 3 champion titles.

You can tell this guy is humble, when the dust settled on receiving the award Jamie said “So…. Once the initial embarrassment settled, it was great to know that others appreciate the work we have all been doing. No one volunteers to be recognised or thanked, but it is special when you are.

It is a great honour to get to work with the Team. I honestly believe we are seeing something very special in surfing at the moment. The level of talent combined with the dedication from both the athletes (and their parents!) and the staff supporting them is amazing. Standing on the beach on that Saturday in Portugal was an amazing feeling, the only comparable thing I can think of was Super Saturday at the 2012 Olympics, it just felt like anything was possible. The key thing now is to maintain and build on that momentum, with the surfers we have and the support behind them I truly believe we will see at least one of the current crop of juniors competing on the CT and at the Olympics!”

Waves of Change Award

Awarded to: Ian and Jasmine Bennett, The Wave Project

Ian and Jaz make huge impact on The Wave Project’s activity in North Devon, and further afield as Ian is the Adaptive Lead. They quietly crack on delivering great programs, which change 100s of lives. They have unbridled enthusiasm for surfing and endless energy to provide these life changing surf experiences. This nomination came in first hand from a volunteer who has seen the impact first hand on young people’s lives ‘from first lesson being shy and not thinking they would enjoy surfing, from being withdrawn and lacking confidence they grow with each lesson the adaptive team provides.

We caught up with Ian who said “I’m stoked to receive this award, it feels like it’s recognition of how we are changing people’s lives.

I’ve been involved with the Wave Project since 2013, when Jaz called me one Sunday afternoon, and told me to ”get my wetsuit on, we’re short of volunteers” I was hooked from the first session.

Since 2017 we have been on an exciting journey, making surfing accessible to anyone. It’s been hard work overcoming the many barriers that make surfing difficult to people with physical disabilities. However, The Wave Project has enabled us keep on knocking those barriers down and allow more people to enjoy the amazing coastline that we have here on our doorstep. The feedback from the families of the surfers we take out is so positive, and for many of them, it may be the first time they have been able to access the sea, let alone go surfing.

I hasten to add, that none of this would be possible without our amazing team of volunteers. We have a large pool of committed enthusiastic, trained volunteers that enable us to facilitate surfing in a safe but super fun way. I think this award recognizes a massive team effort.”

Jaz also echoes how happy she is on receiving this award, after nearly 10 years supporting Wave Project activity “I’m so grateful that Ian and I have been nominated for this award!

I’m pretty sure I have the luckiest job in the world: I get to spend time with lots of lovely volunteers, get to work with amazing surf schools; I get to be in my favourite place in the world, to meet lots of wonderful families and most of all I have this incredible opportunity to help young people to access the therapeutic benefits of getting into the mighty Atlantic when they need it.

Despite volunteering for the Wave Project since 2013, it wasn’t until I was studying Inclusive Dance Practise in 2016/17 that I realised just how far behind the surfing world was.
I have been so heartened to see lots of change in recent years, and heaps of progress – we’re seeing more children than ever through our programmes.
Ian and I so love working together in this incredible and quickly evolving sector. It’s such a privilege to witness the influence of Surf Therapy on children’s lives and a I feel very glad to be a tiny piece of the puzzle that makes that happen.”

On behalf of Surfing England, our huge congratulations to the winners. We would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations and engaged with the process. These awards will continue into 2023 and beyond and evolve in time.

A huge thank you to korev lager for supporting the awards, providing vouchers for our winners to enjoy at a St Austell Brewery Pub. Thank you also to Olaian (Decathlon UK) and Cutty Sark for the additional prizes!

Thank you to all the members of our surfing community who support our organisation and everything we deliver for surfing. You can become a member of Surfing England for £18-25/year (adult – junior), or join up as an Affiliated Club, Surf School or Coach! We are here to grow and develop surfing together. JOIN US HERE!

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