Ilfracombe Arts College

Ilfracombe Arts College Surf Academy

Welcome to the Ilfracombe College Surf Club (ICSC)

We are reinventing the surf club with a view to taking a more active role in the local community and to promote the excellence within the college through successful participation in local and national surf events.

Surf’s Up!

On the day that World Famous Surfer Laird Hamilton visited the North Devon shores, our very own team of surfers hit the waves!  As part of the North Devon Surf Art Festival, Miss Mantell took her AS-Level students to film a dance piece entitled “Dancing on Waves”.  With the help of Nigel at Surfing Croyde Bay, the girls were given their own equipment and i-Surf instructor, Mr. Rob Whitney gave them a lesson on the beach.  Some excellent footage was captured for the DVD that will be shown as part of the North Devon Surf Art Festival in Woolacombe during July.

i-Surf is rapidly growing in numbers these days and also growing in instructors! Mr. Ralph Birkmyre and Mr. Whitney are being joined by Mr. Stewart Dine and Mr. Pete Keegan, who are both completing their instructor courses.  Hopefully this means we will have enough people interested so we can surf regularly, have fun and take part in inter-schools competitions.  Some will, with hard work, go on to represent the school in both regional and national championships.  The club is currently seeking funding for equipment with the aim to provide everyone with a chance of joining in.  Watch this space for more details!


Name: Rob ‘Tundish’ Whitney (Lead Instructor)
Stance: Tiger
Passport: UK & Ireland, Caribbean, Indo and France.
Home Break: Manorbier/Freshwater West
Favourite Break: Shipwrecks (Bali)
Contact: rwhitney@ilfracombecollege.devon.sch.uk
Telephone: 01271 869 253

Name: Stewart Dine
Stance: Goofey
Passport: UK
Home Break: Tynemouth
Favourite Break: North Beach, Woolacombe
Contact: sdine@ilfracombecollege.devon.sch.uk

Name: Pete Keegan
Stance: Regular
Passport: UK & Ireland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, California, Australia, Canada, Portugal and France.
Home Break: Croyde Beach
Favourite Break:  Steamer Lane - Santa Cruz
Contact: pkeegan@ilfracombecollege.devon.sch.uk

Name: Ralph Birkmyre
Stance: Regular
Passport: UK & Ireland, Caribbean, Indo and France.
Home Break: Croyde
Favourite Break: Croyde
Contact: Currently gone sabatical

Name: Kevin Cook
Stance: Goofey
Passport: Name a place, he’s been there.
Home Break: Woolacombe Beach
Favourite Break: Angourie and Lennocks Head – Australia
Contact: kcook@ilfracombecollege.devon.sch.uk

Surf Academy

Ilfracombe Arts College has run a school surf academy for 10 years with surfing being part of the PE curriculum for even longer!  On average we have a total of 60 active members.  We tend to go surfing from March to October on a Tuesday evening of each week.  We use the excellent facilities that Surfing Croyde Bay has to offer and they are always happy to help us run the sessions.  Standout surfers in the past include Neil Clifton, Paul Barrington, Josh Witts, Sam Lewis.  Standout surfers this year are Freddie Stevens, Emma Vanstone and Ed

We have 30 members this year that we take out on a rota basis, although we would love to take out more.  We have been supported greatly by North Devon Leader+ in that they have trained 3 of our surf instructors to pass the internationally recognised Bristish Surf Association qualifications.  Unfortunately for our club, we are not in the position yet to run our surf academy from our school.  We would like to see our surf academy be completely mobile, so that if there’s a southerly wind at Croyde we could easily re-locate to Putsborough for a cleaner wave.  Also regular trips wouldn’t be such a chore!

One of the main reasons we run a surf academy for our students is to give them the opportunity for something to do outside of school.  Far too many children are complaining that they are bored and have nothing to do.  Not only does our surf academy give them something fun and active to do, but it is also a great opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle.  We also use it as a good opportunity for our students to learn about the surfing industry and the job opportunities available to them.

This year we’re starting to visit our feeder Primary Schools to give them the opportunity to start surfing, to give them the chance to meet some of the staff at the college, and give them tips on beach safety.  Coupled with this, we are looking to run weekend courses / sessions with Nigel from Surfing Croyde Bay.

Any further information about surfing within the college then contact Rob Whitney
rwhitney@ilfracombecollege.devon.sch.uk 01271 869 253