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Terms, conditions and medical guidance and FAQs

Welcome: Apply Now


Meet at the Surf Sanctuary, Headland Hotel, TR7 1EW / Lessons are 2 hours / All kit included / Bring a towel / 24 hour and same day bookings pay on arrival / Advance bookings complete at least 7 days prior to the activity 

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 you are booked in for. We schedule start times according to tides and allow time for changing into wetsuits etc…
We cannot get you started any sooner if you turn up early. 

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. Use this What Three Words link if stuck. 
Do not let anyone send you down to the beach to try and find us,  we never meet people 'down on the beach', we are 100% in the hotel! 

Payment:  Lessons are paid at the point of booking (either online at or via invoice, payable 7 days in advance of your first lesson). Lessons that are not paid are not confirmed. We do not run tabs and cannot charge lessons to your hotel bill.  

Please bring: A towel and bathing costume or similar to wear under the wetsuits. For coasteering, you will need to bring trainers - they will get wet, but not ruined. 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. There are no lockers, valuables are left at your own risk. 


NOPs / Refunds / Adverse conditions

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:

  • Surf Sanctuary lessons: Full refund if the booking is cancelled at least a full 72 hours prior to the activity start time
    BSUPA ITCs: Full refund if the booking is cancelled at leasy 7 days prior to the course start date. 

  • Customer cancellations and reschedules inside of the cancellation period above for any reason are not eligible for a refund and will be liable for the full cost of the lesson

  • Therefore we strongly recommend taking out holiday insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances which would prevent you from arriving at your lesson. 


If 'yes' to below see a doctor...

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


July 12, 2025

What do I need to bring? Just a towel and swimming costume / shorts or similar to wear under the wetsuits, if you are coasteering with us you will need to bring trainers. 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? You will be invoiced for payment due 7 days prior to your lesson. Bookings are not confirmed until payment is received. 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 lower to mid tide ranges (though can be fine on a neap high) 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? No. Much of the work will be done 'on foot', pushing the board out and then jumping onto it to catch a wave in from standing depths. 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. We do not put clients in situations where they have to rely on their own swimming ability.  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.

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