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Our most frequently asked questions.

All you need to know about Blackfield Surf School-Achill Island.
Contact us at 087 2495175

Where are you ?

In July and August our Double Decker Surf bus is located at Keel Beach  Outside of these months we will meet you at our shop, approx 1 mile from Keel Beach. 

Do I have to book,or can I just turn up at the beach?

In July and August,you can just turn up and we will  offer you our next available place.However our summer surf camp for kids is very popular, so even if you are just looking for a single session, it's best to book in advance.We have a 1:8 maximum teacher:student ratio.This means that we may not be able to fit you into a lesson at short notice, so we really would recommend that you use our easy booking system to ensure your chosen day and time.You can book here.

Does the summer camp have to be booked for a full week?

We take bookings for single days, two days,three days,four days or a full week.

What are the advantages of kids camp versus a lesson?

Our kids camp is an opportunity to teach our campers all they need to know about surfing,safety and the marine environment where they will spend the week.Over the course of a week, we will get to know your kids,show them the basics and possibly some more advanced techniques of surfing.We will let them know how to treat the sea safely, how to judge the sea state, wind and relevant conditions.They will learn about the marine life that they may encounter and how to deal with problems such as jellyfish and weaver fish.We make them conscious of the need for sun screening and warm clothing in the outdoors and they have the chance to make friends that they can spend time with during the rest of their stay in Achill.Our camp is soooo much more than just a surf lesson! Book a place now.

What do I need to bring?

We supply all the equipment and instruction.If you have your own wetsuit you are welcome to bring it (we don't recommend short sleeve/short arm wetsuits).Otherwise you just need your swimming costume,towel,warm clothing for afterwards and lots of enthusiasm!

How long does a lesson last?

Summer camp for kids runs from 10.30am until 1pm.Afternoon lessons begin at 2.30 and you will be finished around 5pm.

Do I need to know how to swim?

It is advised that you do know how to swim. You don't have to be an excellent swimmer, just competent in the water. Beginner surf lessons are held in waist depth water. 

Is Blackfield Surf School an approved and licenced school? 

Yes, we're approved by the Irish Surfing Association -you can see our listing here, the original and until recently, the only approved school on Achill and one of only a very small number in Mayo.We are fully licenced by Mayo County Council to operate on the beaches around Achill Island in conjunction with the current beach bye laws.

What does this mean?

It means that we have safety plans,normal and emergency operating procedures,suitable equipment,qualified instructors and comprehensive insurance.

Why is this important?

In order to ensure best practise standards of safety and education, the ISA monitor and regularly check the schools that operate under the umbrella of the national governing body for the sport of surfing in Ireland.While we always want to give our customers the best experience possible and we believe in using proper equipment suitable for the standard of the student,as well as making sure that we operate only in safe sea conditions, it is the responsibility of the ISA to check that these standards are being met.If they approve a school then it will have been inspected for procedures,equipment,safety plans,instructor qualifications and insurance.What this means for you, the customer, is that you can be sure if you use the school you will be learning in the best all-round professional environment possible.If it is not approved, then it has not been inspected by anyone and operates outside of any standards authority.

What are the instructors qualifications?

Part of the approval for the school is that our instructors have passed the ISA level one surf instructor course.This requires the instructor to pass a beach lifeguard qualification with either the Irish Water Safety Association or the Royal Lifesaving Society, obtain a certificate from the Irish Sports Council in child protection and complete the Irish Surfing Association instructors course.Gerry is the only ISA level 2 qualified coach on Achill he also holds a certificate in Remote Emergency Care and is a qualified Failte Ireland Marine and Countryside guide.

How can I tell if my instructor is really qualified?

Your instructor will show you his current coaching card from the Irish Surfing Association.This is a small laminated card issued by the ISA ad carrying the photo of the coach and the validity dates of the qualification.You should ask for this as a matter of course.

Who teaches most of your lessons?

At  Blackfield Surf School, we have a great team of fully qualified and experienced instructors.We have more than 30 years of combined teaching experience at all levels from beginners through to coaching at National level.

Blackfield Surf School