Looking to find out more before surfing at The Wave in Bristol? The vlog below shares team rider Dan’s experience as he embarks on his first beginner lesson.
For more information, take a look at team rider Dan's review below...
My name’s Dan and I’m a team rider at Boards360. I’ve recently had my first beginner surf lesson at The Wave in Bristol. This start to finish review will cover my entire experience so you will know exactly what to expect before you book your own visit.
I first heard about The Wave through my older brother, he’s a keen surfer who’s been there a fair few times. He always comes back raving about how much he enjoyed it, so as someone relatively new to surfing, I was intrigued to see if they had anything on offer for me. So I decided to check out their website.
After perusing the range of options on my phone from beginner to expert, the painful reminders of past face plants as I was attempting to surf as a kid, guided me to the former. I found the process straightforward and the website intuitive. After selecting the header “Book a surf session”, I arrived on a page where I could see a description of each surfing experience available. Be sure to read carefully as there is a difference between “Beginners Lesson” and “Beginners Session”, that being the lesson includes inland and in water group tuition and the session allows for free surfing without tuition and is subsequently £10 cheaper. I opted for the lesson so that I could re-familiarise myself with the technique and prevent any unhelpful habits forming.
I’d say it’s worth watching the safety briefing video they email to you after booking, as it helped for a faster check in on the day.
I had also coordinated the trip so that John Meaden (the founder of Boards360) could come along and try out the very cool sounding Sharp Eye Inferno 72 in the advanced session on the same day.
What to do before you go?
I found out through The Wave website that wetsuit hire was free, so all you need to bring is something to wear underneath that and a towel. I was considering bringing a pack lunch, but when I discovered the onsite café online, I felt there was no need to, as they served all kinds of food and drinks. The café has a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options, which was perfect as that’s the kind of food I eat. But likewise, if you enjoy fish n chips, burgers, salads, wings and an array of hot and cold drinks (including a bar with beer and cider on draft), then based on the quality of food I ate, I’d highly recommend eating there. The Wave advises arriving one hour before your session time and I think that’s a wise idea, especially if you’re planning on going as a group or family. This is because the walk from the car park to The Wave is a solid 25 minutes and you want to allow plenty of time to arrive, check in and change into wetsuits.
After I’d parked up and said hello to John, we headed to the first check in. Here, the receptionist quickly checked that I’d signed the waiver and then confirmed our booking times. We soon sauntered onto the slightly declined cemented path towards The Wave where we were swiftly overtaken by someone skating past us. If you’re looking to save some time, and you’re a competent skater, I’d recommend bringing some wheels along.
After our walk we arrived at the front door where we were greeted by a very welcoming and kind member of staff, guiding us through the next stages of the process. Upon entering the building we were met with a plethora of surf and lifestyle related products and an eye-catching wall mounted tv, showing big wave surfing videos. To the left, a bench and table formatted seating area, alongside the bar and food collection area in the far corner.
How is The Wave set up?
After looking around, I stepped through the automatic doors and walked to meet John by the wave pool. He had the new Sharp Eye Inferno 72 under his arm and I sensed, was both excited and nervous as he jogged into the water, swimming out to meet the other surfers, waiting for the advanced session to begin.
By the time the waves had started rolling out, I was out on the long wooden planked pontoon with my camera and tripod at the ready. This provided an excellent view of both sides of the pontoon, as one side featured John and his advanced session and the other, a session of a similar calibre. If you don't have your own personal photographer, The Wave have fantastic on site photographers to capture you in action. Here I also got to grips with how beginner waves work. The beginners actually catch the same wave as the advanced surfers however, they catch it after the advanced group have surfed it, so the wave has lost energy and becomes a much more manageable white water rumble.
It was now time to check into the lesson and get going so I headed over to the wetsuit hire, collected my appropriate size and walked over to the outside block of changing rooms. Once I had changed, I popped my valuables into a free locker (which made a change from the usual £1 lockers most establishments use) and met my group where I was greeted by the coach.
After introductory chats with everyone, the coach began to brief us on how the beginner lesson was going to be structured. I personally found it reassuring to know what to expect from the lesson. Essentially, the lesson was structured as half an hour of inland coaching (from running through naming parts of the board to demonstrating and practising how to stand up) and an hour in the wave pool, putting what we’ve learnt on land, into practise.
Once we had been led over to the left side of the pool (to an AstroTurf area) we proceeded to put on a rash vest and be allocated a board each. With the coach in the middle of the semi circle he began to run through the lesson. I found the lesson really enjoyable as the instructor came across as very natural in his teaching style and the tips and advice he taught us, usefully stuck in my head.
After half an hour, It was then time to walk out into the wave pool and surf! We were instructed to walk out in a single file and then when it was your turn, meet the coach across in towards where the wave was crashing best. We all managed to get around 2 waves per set, then we could rest for a minute or two before the next set of waves started. This was then repeated until an hour had elapsed.
I had such a good time, my first wave wasn’t my best as I fell into the trap of putting my hands down too wide on the board, making it hard to balance. But after some tips from the coach, I regained some confidence and managed to stand up a lot more times than I had expected. I found that the consistency of the wave size allowed me to improve at a much faster rate than I would in the sea, as changing wave size can make it so hard to know where you’re going wrong and difficult to adjust your technique. I therefore, strongly recommend this lesson to any beginners. It’s a fantastic way to improve your technique safely and gain confidence on the board. Likewise, if you’re looking to develop your surfing skills further, the higher levelled waves provide the same consistency and environment to learn.
Once the lesson had finished, all that was left of the day was to drop off the board, change out of the wetsuit, walk back to the car and drive home.
Summary of What You Need to Know Before You Go
- Choose a lesson or session based on your experience and ability.
- Carefully read and sign the waiver prior to arriving.
- Make sure you pack a towel and something to wear underneath your free hire wetsuit.
- Give yourself 45 minutes before your lesson/session to allow for the walk from the car park to The Wave, checking in and getting changed into your wetsuit or longer if you’re in a group.
- If you’re a competent skateboarder, bring one along so you can wiz down the path from the car park to The Wave.
- Highly recommend bringing money for the excellent onsite café and all the surf related gear they have.
Some awesome insights into the types of waves they offer: https://bit.ly/3jJN4y5
If you have any unanswered questions, drop us a message via our contact us page.