Surfing Great Britain has announced that it has now achieved Stage 1 of its application for recognition as Governing Body for UK surfing.
More than three years of meetings and hard work by volunteers from across the UK, led to the submission of pre application documents being approved by the UK Sport recognitions council this week.
Surfing has not had a UK-wide Governing Body since the collapse of the British Surfing Association (BSA) in 2010 and as a result no major UK Government funding for Surfing has been available to help grassroots projects, support surf clubs, coaches and schools, or assist with looking after the safety and enjoyment of all those who surf in the UK.
“It’s a massive step forward for British Surfing” said Nick Rees, Operations Manager at Surfing GB. “Now we can present our funding plans to the UK Government for the next decade, which we hope will result in full NGB recognition for Surfing GB and support for our sport once again; something which is long overdue and desperately needed”.
David Webb, Chairman of Boscombe Surf Club in Bournemouth commented, “our local volunteers have been desperate for support with the club and looking at ways of developing grassroots surfing in our area, we have found it almost impossible to access funding without an NGB to support us“.
Joe Taylor, CEO of The Wave Project, said: “This is fantastic news, in particular for less able surfers who will benefit from Surfing GB’s excellent policies on inclusion. Surfing GB have worked hard to make surfing more accessible to people from all walks of life and I believe that as the National Governing Body they will continue to help to make surfing more relevant to more people.”
Delivering the work of an NGB via volunteer committees, without funding or formal recognition, has been the major achievement of Surfing GB over the last three years. “Surfing GB is a Surfer’s organisation and exists to serve its members” said Nigel Semmens, President of Surfing GB. “We really want to congratulate our volunteers and thank our members, and all those in the wider UK surfing community that have continued to support their NGB- in- waiting during this tough phase. This is now the opportunity for Surfing to apply for the government funding it needs alongside other recognised sports.”
“Recognition for Surfing GB would be huge for the future of surfing within educational establishments.” commented Brender Wilmott, course Co-ordinator at Cornwall College. “Having an NGB will allow school teachers and lecturers access to resources to enable them to educate students and promote an understanding of healthy lifestyles, and make students aware of the marine environment. Surfing has a place in a number of core subjects within schools: Physical Education, Geography, English, Maths, Science, Media and IT.”
The next stage for Surfing GB will be to submit their “whole sports plan” (WSP) to the UK Sports recognitions council- something that could happen within weeks. Sarah Touissa is Surfing GB’s Strategic Development Officer: “Many surfers have been watching and waiting for Surfing GB to get to this stage and we are keen to invite the federations of Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and England, as well as all the other Surfing organisations in the UK to grasp this opportunity and get involved in writing the Whole Sport Plan; so that their interests and the interests of their members are properly represented in future funding bids”.
Another exciting development for Surfing GB is an imminent office relocation to the Museum of British Surfing in North Devon, “It is fantastic that SGB are going to be based at the Museum of British Surfing – we are here not just to celebrate the past, but to mark current achievements and alongside SGB help shape the future of British surfing”, said Pete Robinson, founder of the Museum of British Surfing.
“This is great news” said Alex Williams, one of the volunteer directors of SGB, “but it’s also vital that we now hear from passionate Surfers: by joining Surfing GB as a member you can help shape the Whole Sport Plan and be a part of our shared future in Great British Surfing”.