We have sent the kids surfing with Gerry of Blackfields surf in 2010, 2011 and 2015. We plan to bring them back again in 2016 for two very specific reasons:
We have tried other surf schools in Ireland (mainly because there was a shorter drive to reach them) and none of them measure up to the quality of training and encouragement given to your surfers by Blackfield's Gerry and his team.
We have not encountered the consistency of waves that are to be found on Keel beach where Blackfields trains their classes of junior and teenage surfers.
It is easy to spot where the Blackfield surf school is based on the beach as they have re-purposed an old Dublin bus which sits on the beach providing the waiting parents with strong coffee and hot chocolates while they sit upstairs an wait for their off-spring to complete their lessons.
I don't know how they do it but they always hire the most considerate and talented coaches to teach the children. This year we met Adbul from Casablanca and Liam from Brighton.
One of our party (aged 13) has never done any activities in the sea before even though he was a very proficient pool swimmer. The first Sunday sunny evening we arrived on Achill, he went into the sea up to his ankles and was very reticent to go any further into calm waves. This same boy did his first surf to shore three days into his course with Blackfields. On the 4th day of the course, he was running back into the sea which was a bit rough despite wind and rain.
My little girl (10) can be a bit of a drifter. After all, how lovely is it to lie on a long surf board with the gulf stream warming the water under you letting the waves lift you. She also had a small scare surfing in Lahinch a few years ago when strong undercurrents pulled her out to sea. For these reasons she was not in a hurry to get up on a board. By the third day, she was competing with the older boys to get the most surfs to shore completed.
My recommendation is use Blackfields for the wonderful instructors, the wonderful waves and the quirky bus to have a strong coffee on.
The only thing to be aware of is that occasionally your children will have to share the sea with jelly fish. Just have a bottle of vinegar to splash on them as soon as they complain that it starts to sting (this prevents further stinging) Most eateries on the island provide it in handy sachet form.
Great things to do after surfing:
Crepes from the crepe stand 3 mins walk from the bus
Warm veg soup from the soup stand beside the crepe stand
Curried chips from Gieltys
(For the starving n' dying n' Mam please feed me now) The breakfast role from the Beehive (two meals in one)
(For those in need of a meal) Homemade fishfingers, chips and salad from The Chalet
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