Is the 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?
If you take a lesson from Blackfield Surf School, it will more than likely be Gerry that will take you into the sea.Gerry has been surfing for more than 20 years,worked as a lifeguard on many of Irelands busiest beaches and has taught surfing since the late eighties.He also makes really good coffee!