North Devon is renowned for its endless stretches of sandy beaches, rugged shores and stunning coastlines, making it a perfect “playground” for a host of water sports. The “playground” however is not accessible to everyone according to Isabelle Bromham, North Devon’s Coastal Watersports Officer. Isabelle, who works for North Devon +, is championing a new initiative to create a “surf bus” that would allow locals and tourists with watersports equipment such as surf boards to use public transport. “North Devon prides itself on the quality of the environment it has to offer and watersports plays a major part in the reason why people live in or visit the area. It is fundamental that we look at measures to mitigate the negative impact of road congestion and CO2 emission and to accommodate people’s 21st Century needs”. The project forms part of a wider European Programme for watersports development, Nautisme Espace Atlantique (NEA2) and is supported by the AONB , North Devon Council and the Environment Agency and Isabelle is delighted so many individuals and organizations are supporting the project. The Surf Bus initiative (which would allow transportation of a variety of watersports equipment), is about giving people an alternative to car usage, providing better access to the beach for people that would like to take part in watersports activities, using their own equipment”

Matt Knight, of Georgeham who helps run the Croyde Surfing Club has welcomed the Surf Bus initiative and says, “I have four children myself aged between 12 and 16 who all surf competitively but they have to rely on me to transport them to the beach because they cannot take their surf boards on the bus. Through my work at Croyde Surf Club, I am aware of many youngsters who have to rely on parents to take them to the beach or the junior surf club meetings on Monday evenings and that’s not always possible as quite a lot of the parents work until after 5pm. Our local economy has grown over the years with the boom in watersports and if we are to sustain the growth and reduce congestion on our roads then we all need to get behind the proposal for a surf bus”.

John Burch, from the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, believes a surf bus would be a fabulous opportunity for North Devon. “The Confederation of Passenger Transport, as the trade association for the UK Bus and Coach Industry, would support this initiative wholeheartedly” he says and adds, “We would be delighted to rise to the challenges of providing suitable infrastructure to service these needs.”

In order to evaluate the feasibility of introducing a surf bus service an on-line survey has been set up to test the potential demand for a public bus service, equipped to take various watersports equipment on board and Isabelle is urging locals and tourists to share their views. To take part in the survey, log on to the North Devon Council Website ( where you will find the link to the survey from the website front page.

Isabelle is confident that a surf bus will make a huge difference to North Devon’s economy and environment. “Watersports is very important to the area; a recent study shows the watersports sector being worth £80 million to the local economy, but transport facilities and secured storage facilities do not reflect that. Sustainable transport and Co2 emissions are at the forefront of political agendas – the surf bus would help spread the right message in terms of reducing Co2 emission and looking after the pristine North Devon coast”.

The surf bus initiative has received support from local provider Stagecoach who has been helping to explore different options for carrying surfboards and watersports equipment. Stagecoach has however, pointed out , that there is a significant amount of “red tape” in this country, including strict health and safety laws that make it difficult for Stagecoach to provide provision for surfboards on existing vehicles.

Mark Kentell, North Devon Council’s Leisure & Health Officer said “having a surf bus in North Devon is something that I would love to see. The local surfing beaches are such a unique part of life in North Devon, it seems almost criminal that people without cars can’t access them if they want to take their own boards down there. The District Council is commited through it’s Leisure & Health Strategy to increasing physical activity levels in the local community, particularly through use of the natural environment. The District Council is happy to host the survey on it’s website and is certain that he results will be an excellent information resource, which will help everyone involved in the project and especially Stagecoach who are keen to work with us to resolve the issue”.

The on-line survey consultation runs from 1st December to Friday 16th January 2010 and the survey link can be forwarded to friends and family and people interested in the innovation concept. “Wales has buses with bike trailers and Scotland has buses with ski racks and with everyone’s help we can make the surf bus a reality for North Devon” concludes Isabelle.

Notes to editor

———————————- ENDS ————————————-
For more information on this Press Release or for more information on North Devon+, please contact Isabelle Bromham on 01237 472366 or log on to

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Anne Harrington Comment by Anne Harrington on December 24, 2009 at 3:48pm
I added an earlier comment, but having a bit of a technophobe day! 🙁 !! Anyway, I feel this is a brilliant idea, and I hope we get a similar scheme here in Cornwall, having had to use Public Transport when going Surfing/to Beaches for ages.
Anne Harrington Comment by Anne Harrington on December 24, 2009 at 2:11pm
Yes, I feel a Surf Bus is an brilliant idea! Funnily enough, it’s something I have been hoping might be set up here in Cornwall. Since I’ve learnt to Surf, as I don’t have access to a car, I have used Public Transport mostly to get to the Beach/Surf lessons. This has been OK, (sometimes involoving thre connections) but I have seen people not allowed on a bus, if carrying a board, even if it’s in a carrying case. (However, I have also seen some kind Drivers let people on!). If I was someone from upcountry, on Holiday, I wouldn’t feel very welcomed. Although, I can understand the Health and Safety reasons too. So, let’s hope the Devon Scheme gets up and running, and one in Cornwall too, and perhaps I won’t have to stand at Bus/Train Stations freezing after a winter surf, having just missed a connection!


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