How To Safely Enjoy The Ocean During COVID-19

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By James Fisher – Newquay Activity Centre

The beginning of 2020 really hasn’t panned out the way any of us thought it might. I’m sure we all had plans of great adventures from coast to coast with friends and family. (Obviously surfing in Newquay was one of them.) The idea of reflecting a new decade with all the positivity we could throw at it was high on the agenda. But for the first half of the year, at least, we have had to adapt and adopt a completely new lifestyle while the outbreak of Coronavirus took over.

Since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China back in December – we have all had to change our way of living according to the Government’s advice. The majority of the UK population have been cooped up inside their homes for the last few months, helping to ease the spread of the virus and lighten the load on the NHS.

Following this initial phase of lockdown, from Sunday 10th May a new plan has been set in place by PM Boris Johnson to ease a sense of normality back into our lives. Backed by science and data and on a strictly conditional basis, we could see a gradual re-opening of businesses if it is safe to do so and can be managed properly in regards to social distancing.

Important updates from the Government regarding our industry

The Government has released a set of guidelines that apply to all businesses in the sport and recreation industry. From Wednesday 13th May, all providers of sport and recreation are allowed to reopen if they feel ready and deem it safe enough to do so. We fall under this category and have taken all necessary steps to reopen and operate responsibly and safely. We understand the seriousness of the global situation and want to create solutions with longevity. Please take some time to read through the latest guidelines to familiarise yourself with how things have changed.

How are we going to operate during COVID-19?

After hours of conversations, handy zoom meetings, and a lot of careful consideration, we have taken the decision to gradually re-open our doors in a controlled and responsible way. As ever, safety is at the forefront of everything we do and we hold the wellbeing of our customers and staff in the highest regard. With the risk of sounding like a government representative during the daily briefing, we must stay alert now more than ever.


The Government has stated that being outdoors is a much easier way to social distance. It eliminates the chance of the virus being confined within walls and therefore easier to avoid. British Canoeing have also issued a statement to allow people back on the water from Wednesday 13th May if the Government guidelines are followed. Coupled with the latest advice that there is now no limit on daily exercise, this has led us to reopen our doors for customers who wish to safely and confidently escape the recent constraints of lockdown.

We will again be offering our kayaking, coasteering, SUPing, bodyboarding, super SUPing and surf hire in Newquay. All of our sessions have been completely revised and adapted to make sure that they are following the Government guidelines, and that they are suitable and safe to go ahead.

We have based our decisions on really thinking about what is safe and possible to achieve whilst maintaining the 2 metre social distancing rule. All of the activities that we offer can be enjoyed on either an individual or same family house-hold basis. Family groups are safe to continue on the outside as they have been at home. So opting for some family time super SUPing or surfing in Newquay could be an excellent way to reconnect with the outdoors.

How have we adapted the daily running of the centre?

To conform with the Government guidelines, we have completely overhauled our daily practices within the Newquay Activity Centre. We have put in new measures and safety barriers to make sure that any physical contact between staff and customers is eliminated. Likewise, any equipment that is hired out of the centre will go through a much more rigorous cleaning phase before it is allowed to go out again.

The new operating procedures have been put in place so we can begin to enjoy the ocean again in a safe and responsible way. They are as follows:


  1. Signs and Reminders. These will be around the centre to keep people aware of the guidelines and limits.
  2. Stagger Customer Arrival. Customers will be asked to arrive at different times throughout the day. This will ensure that the surf hire centre is kept as clear and clean as possible and prevent people from breaking the 2 metre social distance rule.
  3. Ask Customers to be Prepared. We will ask all customers to think about their booked activity and arrive appropriately dressed for the session. This will limit the usage of changing rooms and toilets – helping to prevent the spread.
  4. Increased Wetsuit Wash. All of our wetsuits are now being soaked in either Dettol or Milton sterilizing fluid to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. These have both been medically proven to kill COVID-19. In addition to this, we have increased the soak time of our wetsuits up to 15 minutes for a longer wash.
  5. All Equipment Sterilized. Any other equipment hired out such as surfboards, kayaks or bouyancy aids will also be properly cleaned and sterilized before they can be used again.
  6. Rotate Kit Use. We have enough kit here that we are able to stagger how often it’s used. This ensures that there is sufficient time between two customers using the same piece of equipment – allowing them to be fully cleaned and fresh for use.
  7. Be Aware of Customer Skill. As mentioned before, we will make sure your level of experience matches the conditions of the water. This will limit the need for instructor interference and will maintain a safe social distance.
  8. New Protocols for Coasteering. We have reviewed our approach and processes within our coasteering sessions, and have adapted them as needed to comply with the COVID-19 safety guidelines. We have highly encouraging and experienced instructors who are capable of guiding you via demonstration and communication. This guided learning experience leads to a much more independent and confident student – allowing you to get the most out of coasteering in Newquay.
  9. Social Distancing. For all of our surfing, coasteering, SUPing, bodyboarding, super SUPing and kayaking lessons, we have adjusted our teaching methods to constantly maintain a safe distance between staff and customers. For instance; if you find yourself needing a hand while you’re in a kayak or on a SUP board – we can remedy this by hooking up a tow line and pulling you to safety. If you are on a bodyboard or surf lesson, we will make sure you are always in the safest conditions to minimise any chance of drifting.


We are really putting an emphasis on demonstration and communication. If you pay attention and listen to the instructor at all times, this will definitely be a safe and repeatable experience during the ongoing situation around COVID-19.

What are the benefits of being in the ocean?

The most obvious benefits of the sea are often physical. Things we can quantify and record and compare. Aspects like our cardiovascular health or the way we look after beach training sessions. But it’s not all about what we can see, our mental health can also benefit from being in or by the ocean. Rather than leaving the beach with a red face, you may find yourself experiencing a Blue Mind. It has been proven that connecting with the water is hugely beneficial for our mental state and can leave us feeling calmer and more creative.

That longing feeling of wanting to be by the ocean doesn’t lay in your head unfounded. We have a deep connection to the water that goes back for as long as humans have walked this planet. Almost 70% of our bodies are made up of water, likewise over 70% of the earth is covered in it too. We have such a deep biological connection to h2o that the very sight, smell or feel of it instantly produces neurochemicals that improve our well-being and increase our mood.

I would argue that now, more than ever, is the time where we need to be looking after our mental health and taking the chance to improve it where we can. Lockdown isn’t normal. Being cut off from your friends and family isn’t something we have had to deal with before, and so it’s absolutely fine if you’re finding it difficult. But there is hope. Immerse yourself in the reality of nature and find out what surf hire can do for you.

Take a break from your all-too-familiar phone screen and the constant barrage of news. Just a few hours in the ocean could be enough to reset and recharge your mind. Surfing or coasteering in Newquay could be the perfect antidote to the stress and anxiety of recent months. If you feel like you want to escape the current situation for a little while, then feel free to call us on 01637 877722 and we will do our best to help you.

Confidently continue to enjoy surfing in Newquay

With our new structures in place and the Government’s latest advice on COVID-19, there is no reason we can’t safely and confidently enjoy the ocean and all of its benefits. As long as we all remain diligent then we are happy to provide these services to get people back outdoors doing what they love.

Surfing in Newquay is a huge part of the town’s lifestyle, from the beginners lessons to the world ranking surf competitions. With the right kind of attitude, we can continue to enjoy these waters. With the safety of our customers at the forefront of what we do, our aim is to create the best platform to safely enjoy the ocean. We now believe this is possible and we welcome new enquiries for our lessons.

If you want to participate in safe, fun, award winning ocean based activities this summer, please check out our range of outdoor activities.


About The Author

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