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“Wave hello wave goodbye”

Blackfield Surf School
Ranked #1 of 4 Tours in Achill Island
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Blackfield Surf, kitesurf and SUP School is the only approved surf School on Achill Island.We are fully approved by the Irish Surfing Association and are one of only two schools in Mayo with this accreditation. If you need a surfing lesson or to hire some wetsuits, surfboards or body boards, just drop in! If you would like to learn to kitesurf, or improve, just give us a call.If you would like to go on a stand up paddleboard expedition through caves and arches-let us bring you! We run a hugely popular and (very small) surf camp for children aged 8-16 during the months of July and August.The surf school runs from our iconic double decker bus on Keel beach. In winter (October - March) our bus is closed but we are always happy to run lessons or hire equipment! Just call us!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage
Reviewed 25 August 2015

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

2  Thank ElizaF_London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 August 2015

When I was coming to Achill for Bank Holliday weekend with no intention to surf. As it turned out I would miss so much by not trying it.
For me it was first time so when my friends were trying on their own I decided to book a lesson. It was indeed good decision. Our instructor gave us (a group of 6 people) quick introduction to surfing, then showed some basic movements and techniques and let us try on our own.
I totally loved the whole experience even though weather was not best to say at least. It was basically raining (not heavily) all the time and temperatures were around 13C. And the view on mountains and beach (Keel Sandybanks) were terrific though. Waves were good for beginners and wet suit make surfing possible even in this kind of weather.
The instructor was coming to us individually and giving us a helping hand and good advises.
Very recommended! If you haven't tried surfing before take classes and it will make your experience way more comfortable and plainly better :) After that you can just try surfing on your own.

1  Thank Monika D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2015

This July was our fourth year to join Gerry's surf school on Keel Beach and it just keeps getting better. The professionalism of Gerry and the team is outstanding and the combination of instruction, fun, camaraderie not to mention the apres-surf hot chocolate
that makes Blackfield a firm favourite activity for the summer. We couldn't recommend this summer school enough. Gerry, Abdell and Liam a huge thank you from Paris, Milan, Sean, Stephen and Mary.

3  Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackfieldachill, Owner at Blackfield Surf School, responded to this reviewResponded 23 September 2015

Hi Mary.
thank you so much for your lovely, kind review of our small surf school on Achill Island.We are always so grateful to hear positive feedback from our customers, and we consider it as kind words from friends rather than cold customer reviews,Your guys are always a pleasure to have on board and without the trust that you place in us, we would be "just another surf school".
Thank you so much for your continued support.

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Reviewed 5 July 2015

My 25 year old son from CA and my 15 year old daughter from MN could not have gotten better customer service from Gerrie and his crew at Blackfield. Gerrie was excellent and extremely helpful with my kids and their surfing - one experienced and one not. He was very responsive to my ongoing emails leading up to the days we surfed. This place is awesome and he's a wonderful business owner. Highy recommend this place - check out his website and email him if you have questions. Gerrie is a wonderful guy!

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
1  Thank stephaniekW7683TI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackfieldachill, Owner at Blackfield Surf School, responded to this reviewResponded 6 July 2015

Hi Stephanie-
thanks for taking the time to review our surf school-I'm delighted that your guys enjoyed it so much and that we were able to be a part of a great holiday for you. I hope that the rest of your time in Ireland matches your time on Achill!

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Reviewed 29 June 2015

Booked a surf lesson for a group of 7 girls on a hen with Blackfield and we were all mightily impressed. Gerry is an earnest, professional and thorough instructor - his passion for surfing stands out and he's a natural teacher. The wetsuits and surfboards were well maintained and we were pretty much straight in the water at Keel Beach after an introductory instruction at the café. The weather wasn't amazing but it was actually kinda perfect for surfing - the waves were awesome. We were a mixed group of varying levels - a couple of beginners, some who had surfed a few times. Gerry accommodated everyone, came around and gave individual pointers on how to improve technique. Highly recommended.

2  Thank 23leliz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
blackfieldachill, Owner at Blackfield Surf School, responded to this reviewResponded 6 July 2015

Hi Liz-
thanks for bringing your group to us -and thanks for getting everybody here on time-not all hen parties manage to be as punctual!
It was a pleasure to have you here and great to see how well you all did.Hope the wedding is a great day-look forward to seeing some or all of you again!

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