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Terms, conditions and medical guidance and FAQs



Thank you for booking your ocean activities with us, you’re in for an excellent time! To make your experience as smooth as possible, we have prepared the following info:

Start time: Please arrive at the Surf Sanctuary at the time agreed. We schedule start times according to tides and allow time for changing into wetsuits etc…

Location: We are located in the main hotel building, directly underneath the Terrace Bar, on the corner that overlooks Fistral. You’ll see surfboards outside and our sign on the wall.

Payment: For surf school bookings, please pay cash or card on the day, before your lesson starts. For clinic bookings, 20% deposit secures your place with the balance due 14 days before the clinic date. For group bookings, we require numbers and full payment to be finalised no later than a week before the activity date.  

Please bring: A towel and bathing costume or similar to wear under the wetsuits. Everything else (wetsuit, surfboard, personal protection equipment etc…) is provided and included in the cost of your lesson.

Facilities: There are changing rooms, showers and loos at the surf school.


Ocean sports by nature are dependent on conditions. Each of our senior instructors has over ten years’ experience in coaching ocean sports across a broad spectrum of conditions in many different locations to a vast cross section of the population. It is our area of expertise and our first concerns are your safety, and enjoyment.

Normal operating procedures:

Factors such as rain, gloomy skies, mist, wind, choppy seas, chilly air and so on are well within normal operating procedures for surf coaching and very much a part of the Cornish surfing experience (if we didn’t surf on these days, we’d probably never get in). As such, we use high quality C Skins 5mm wetsuits all year round, with the addition of boots, gloves and hoods in the off season. Warmth is assured.

We have two teaching locations: Fistral Beach and nearby Towan Beach. Most lessons are run at Fistral. We use Towan when conditions become too strong at Fistral as it is far more sheltered there (it often goes completely flat during summer months).

Cancellation / postponement due to adverse conditions:

Our senior instructors make a decision each day based on ‘eyeball’ reports and forecasts to whether Fistral or Towan are providing conditions within our normal operating procedures, in which case the lesson will go ahead. If conditions are outside of our NOP’s, the senior instructor will cancel or postpone the lesson according to your wishes. You will not be charged and any money you have paid will be refunded or carried over.

The decision to cancel or postpone rests entirely with the senior instructor at Surf Sanctuary.

Client cancellation:

We understand circumstances change and encourage you to let us know at your earliest convenience if you wish to cancel or reschedule your lesson.

Surf school booking cancellations within 24 hours will be liable for the full cost of the booking. Group bookings of 6 or more must give 7 days’ notice of cancellation, if we cannot rebook your slot the full cost will be charged.

Clinic booking cancellations before two weeks of the clinic date will be refunded. For cancellations within one week there will be a 50% refund. Cancellations within 24 hours will be liable for the full cost of the booking. 


Surfing is fun and healthy, and being active is safe for most people. However some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming much more physically active. If going surfing would mean you would become much more physically active than you are now, please answer the questions below. Common sense is your best guide when you answer these questions.

  1. Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical exercise recommended by a doctor?

  2. Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?

  3. In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?

  4. Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?

  5. Do you have a bone or join problem (for example, back, knee or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?

  6. Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs for your blood pressure or heart condition?

  7. Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?

If you answered YES to one or more questions, speak with your doctor and tell them which questions you answered YES to. Explain you wish to go surfing and follow their advice.

If you answered NO honestly to all questions you can be reasonably sure that you can start becoming more physically active – begin slowly and build up gradually


What do I need to bring? Just a towel and swimming costume / shorts or similar to wear under the wetsuits. Wetsuits, surfboards, and in cooler months boots, gloves and hoods are all provided and included in the lesson price. How long does the lesson last? Allow around two hours out of your day start to finish. Where and when do we meet? Please come to the Surf Sanctuary at the arranged time for your lesson, no need to come early How do we pay? We accept cash or card , please pay before your lesson The weather looks bad, are we still going ahead? Safety and lesson quality are our prime directives. If we cannot fulfil these, we will postpone your lesson. That said, surfing is a very robust sport and can be practised safely and enjoyably in conditions that might seem adverse if you are not a regular visitor to the sea. The decision to run or postpone the lesson will be made by the lead instructor. Why do your lessons start at random times? We pre-plan all of our lesson start times through the year according to the tides; Fistral is best around the mid tide ranges so if you are surfing with us each day, the start time will change. How deep do we go? On beginner lessons, you can expect to be able to touch the sea floor with your feet at all times, typically it will be around waist depth. Advanced lessons are run 'out the back' in deep water. Is there anything nasty in the water? Cornwall is blessed with clean seas, largely free from biting things though you might see seals, jellyfish and even a dolphin. What's a weaver fish then? Weavers are small fish that lurk in the shallows around low tide. They sting if you step on them. The treatment is to immerse your foot in hot water to denature the sting. Do I need to be a good swimmer? Not really; much of the work will be done 'on foot', pushing the board out and then jumping onto it to catch a wave in. Pool swimming skills do not translate to the surf environment in any meaningful way; being comfortable with your head going underwater and and being strong enough to carry the surfboard down to the beach are more relevant abilities. I have a medical condition that might affect my ability to surf, can I still go? Surfing is a wonderfully adaptable sport, you are definitely encouraged to get in touch to discuss your requirements with us once you have cleared it with your doctor as there is usually something we can work out.

+44 7540 155123

Surf Sanctuary, Headland Hotel, Headland Road, Newquay, TR7 1EW

©2019 by Surf Sanctuary