Award Winning Activity Centre

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Newquay Activity Centre

Cornwall’s One Stop Destination For Awesome Outdoor Ocean Adventures

Whether you want to learn to surf, bodyboard, coasteer, stand-up paddle board and kayaking or try something totally extreme, we’re doing it and are raring to share the buzz.

In fact, we’ve been doing for over twenty years. Born out of passion and evolved to become one of the country’s leading activity providers, here at Newquay Activity Centre we get our kicks out of showcasing Newquay’s amazing coastline and helping people push their limits. So, whether you’ve got goals to smash, confidence to build or simply want to have fun, we are the people to have by your side.

Where we’ve come from

Rewind to 1995 and pro bodyboarder, Rob Barber, was travelling the world scoring the best waves and living the dream – life wasn’t just good, it was amazing. There was always a niggly feeling that something was missing though. Even when hopping from Hawaii to Indonesia Rob couldn’t shake the pull of the legendary surf and bodyboarding mecca of Newquay – his hometown. And so, he channelled his awesome talent into opening the world’s first bodyboarding school. From here Rob then opened the English Surf School (the longest running surf school in Newquay), coasteering, stand up paddle boarding and other activities soon followed and the Newquay Activity Centre was born and as they say, the rest is history…

From day one

Newquay Activity Centre was no ordinary surf and bodyboarding school. First Rob rounded up his pro buddies to offer opportunities to be coached by some of surfing’s top names, including Russell Winter, Ben Skinner and Johnny Fryer. Then he added a whole range of activities to the Newquay Activity Centre mix. Super stand-up paddleboardingbushcraftlifeguard skillskayaking, and a whole lot more besides, means there’s something for everyone from families to military. Layer on a unique mix of heritage, wildlife, education and adrenalin and you can start to see why Newquay Activity Centre is the number one activity provider in the South West.

Newquay Activity Centre Exterior

About Us Newquay Activity Centre Awards

What we’ve achieved

From incredible beginnings Newquay Activity Centre has come a long way. The innovation has kept up apace with a new wave of activities landing each season and we’re more than a little proud of our top-notch reputation for the way in which we look after our customers, coastline and community.

We’re TripAdvisor’s number one outdoor activity provider, three-time gold winners of the Cornwall Tourism Awards and two-time silver winners of the South West Tourism Awards.

Our awards cabinet is suitably filled but helping our guests have an absolute blast on the water is what keeps us ticking – it’s super cheesy we know but seeing you smile, makes us smile! Our instructors have a range of techniques up their sleeves to help everyone from first-timers to the more experienced get the most out of their lesson and bust some personal targets. A safety-first ethos comes guaranteed, as does care for the environment.

Our love for Newquay

We love Newquay as much as we love watersports. They go hand-in-hand. From the awesome surf to the golden sands and jaw-dropping coastline, Newquay is the best place for watersports in Cornwall. And when it comes to beaches, we’re of course among Fistral’s legion of fans but Towan Beach is our sweet spot. It’s our home and where you’ll find us. It’s the gateway to the Gazzle, an amazing 2km stretch of Atlantic coastline rich in wildlife, history and character, and enjoys the benefit of being both a harbour and open water location. It doesn’t get much better than this – find out more in our ultimate guide to Towan Beach.

Newquay Activity Centre Aerial

Our expert team

Rob Barber

Rob Barber

My passion is to see our customers get the absolute most out of the Cornish coastal environment. We’ve got a great team, great facilities but the real star of the show is our incredibly varied Cornish coastline.

Hannah Firth

Hannah Firth
Office Manager

Simon Firth

Simon Firth
Bookings Coordinator

Johnny Fryer

Johnny Fryer
Head Coach

I love coaching on our Newquay beaches! They are always consistent, it’s easy to find an uncrowded peak, and they are great for all levels of coaching.

Rob Barber

Riding waves since 1988

Level 4 Surf GB/Level 2 ISA coach and SLSA Surf Coach Lifeguard

Years Instructing
Since 1996

Other Relevant Experience                

  • Owner of the Newquay Activity Centre delivering surfing, bodyboarding and coasteering experiences to over 10,000 people per year
  • Coached the British team at the World Surfing Games in Portugal 1998, Brazil 2000, South Africa 2002, Ecuador 2004, California 2006
  • Coached the English team at the European Champs in France 2000
  • Coached/managed the English Junior team in France 1999 and 2002
  • Head coach of the English Surfing Federation surf school since 1998
  • Director of Rob Barber’s School of Bodyboarding since 1997
  • Director of Coastline Coasteer since 2004

Bodyboarding Contest Achievements             

  • British Senior Bodyboarding Champion 2014, ranked Number 2 in the Open and Masters divisions
  • Ranked Number 3 in British national ratings, year end 2013
  • Eighth place at the European Championships in Ireland 2012
  • Senior British National Champion 2010 and 2011
  • British Bodyboard Club Championship Winner 2000
  • British Bodyboarding Cup Champion 1999
  • Virgin Cola Surf Tour Winner 1998
  • 22nd in World Champs at Pipeline in Hawaii 1995 (highest ranked European in World Professional ratings)
  • Winner of the ThreeSixty Bodyboarders Readers Opinion Poll of the UK’s best riders 1995, 1996 and 1997
  • Threesixty Series Winner 1994
  • Three times captain of Bodyboard-Depot team to win British bodyboard Club Tag team championships (undisputed champions!)

Fave Waves for Coaching
Newquay Bay supplies an awesome selection of waves for coaching. There are eight different wave zones across the bay that supply everything from slow breaking beginner waves to fast breaking wedge waves for experts. It’s my favourite UK spot to coach all abilities of surfer and bodyboarder.

Fave Coasteering Spots
Adventure Gulley: Often accompanied by the seals, with fishing boats chugging past on their way back from a busy night at sea and with a myriad of fun different options available each coasteer – it’s an awesome spot.

Other Stuff
My passion is to see our customers get the absolute most out of the Cornish coastal environment. We’ve got a great team, great facilities but the real star of the show is our incredibly varied local coastline. Every day it is perfect for coasteering, surfing or bodyboarding. You just need a little local knowledge and guidance to find it!

Team Johnny Fryer

The main reason I love instructing at the Newquay Activity Centre is because the location is perfect. There are so many surfing and coasteering options just a 5-minute walk away. There’s always a good crew of instructors around and every day is a good laugh at the centre!


Coaching since 2004 from beginners up to the British National Squad.


Level 2 ISA Coach, NARS Beach Lifeguard, RNLI Beach Lifeguard.

Years instructing

Since 2004

Other Relevant Experience

  • Professional surfer since 2004
  • British Surfing Champion 2010
  • English Champion 2009, 2012

Fave Waves for Coaching

I love coaching on any North Cornish coast beach! They are always consistent, it’s easy to find an uncrowded peak, and they are great for all levels of coaching.

Fave Coasteering Spots

The best coasteering has to be at the Gazzle on challenging days and Porth Island when it’s calm.

Team Mark Kelly

The main reason I like instructing for Newquay Activity Centre is getting to meet people from all over the world, sharing the stoke of my passion for the ocean with them and watching them smile!

From an early age I have been passionate about outdoor activities and the ocean. I started my outdoor career as a voluntary instructor aged just 16, and since then I have worked all over the world with groups from every conceivable background and age as well as studying for a Higher National Diploma in Outdoor Education and a BSC (Joint Hons) in Outdoor Education and Environmental Science.

SLSGB Surf Lifeguard, ISA Level 1 Surf Instructor, ASI Level 2 SUP Instructor, BCU Level 3 Kayak Coach, SPA Rock Climbing Instructor, RYA Safety Boat Helm, Coasteering and Gorgewalking guide and trainer, BTEC Nat.Dip. Sports Science.

Years Instructing
Since 1999

Other Relevant Experience
I was one of the first instructors delivering commercial surf lessons in Ireland, and more recently developed some of the first commercial coasteering routes in Donegal.

Fave Waves for Coaching
The Bay! It’s really fun, ideally suited to learning and progression.

Fave Coasteering Spot
The Gazzle! On a flat summer’s day it’s like a tropical paradise, and with a bit of swell it’s the best roller coaster ride you will ever experience!

Other Stuff
I strive to be an all-round waterman and am always involved in several ocean activities. Currently I am working with NAC to develop a programme in bodysurfing and the use of hand planes, which I am really looking forward to as I see bodysurfing as the purest form of wave riding and enjoying the ocean.

Team Joe Woodhouse

I have always loved everything to do with the ocean so getting to work delivering activities in and around the sea is a dream job. Every day offers something new and 99% of the time includes catching some waves while getting paid. What’s not to like?

Coaching since 2012
2-year Surf Science qualification

Level 1 ISA Coach, Coastline Coasteer Guide/Assistant, SLGB Lifeguard

Years Instructing
Since 2012

Other Relevant Experience
I came through the ranks by doing work experience with Newquay Activity Centre after I became interested in the industry when Rob Barber gave a presentation to my school, Treviglas Community College. I also became part of the bodyboard school section of the Newquay Activity Centre to help with bookings, then shadow coach and am now a full time instructor so have learnt every part of the job. Now I’ve made solid friends with a gang of the other instructors and we get to travel together each winter.

Fave Waves for Coaching
Fistral Beach: With a left hand wedge wave at the south end, multi peaks towards the middle of the beach and some awesome right handers at north Fistral it’s a dream to use for coaching of all abilities.

Fave Coasteering Spots
Adventure Gulley: I love the lagoon that we leap into at the end of the coasteer. I helped to develop the route so it is a special little secret spot for me. Definitely my favourite route.

Other Stuff
I’ve competed to a high level in bodyboarding, taking the Under 18 Number 1 spot in a national competition. I hope that I can continue to share my knowledge of bodyboarding for many more years to come!

Aaron Parsons


I graduated with my photography degree in 2010 and have since built up a wealth of experience within the medium. From surf and bodyboard photography to weddings my portfolio has become extremely eclectic. I have been photographing and filming bodyboarding for four years mainly in Newquay but have also been lucky enough to be taken on one of the bodyboard holidays to Morocco to capture its amazing waves and culture.


ATRiuM School of Creative & Cultural Industries – University of Glamorgan – 2007 – 2010

Bachelor of Arts in Photography (2:1), University of Glamorgan.

The Bodyboard-Depot

Home Break:
Fistral Beach, Cornwall

Fave Break:
Boilers, Morocco

Top Three Photography Moments So Far:

1. The winter 2014 storms in Cornwall. Mammoth swells and jaw dropping waves meant for some fantastic photo opportunities!

2. Traveling to New Zealand. The landscape and wildlife there is quite literally out of this world.

3. Glastonbury Festival. Photographing some of my favourite stars in their element was quite unforgettable.

To see more of Aarons work visit his website