Surfing in Bude

Bude turns out some of the best surfers in the UK!

The History of Bude Surf Life Saving Club

Surfing in Bude started mainly through the creation of Bude Surf Life Saving Club.
Traveling Australian lifeguards introduced the sport/lifestyle to fellow Bude lifeguards and surf club members.

In August 1953 the first Surf Lifesaving Club was formed in North Cornwall at Crooklets Beach, Bude. Australian born Allan Kennedy is said to have been the founder of the Surf Lifesaving movement in the UK.
He started out his career in Lifesaving as a volunteer at the Byron Bay Club in New South Wales before moving to Queensland known as 'Surfers Paradise'.
Kennedy was state superintendent for Queensland during the war. Between 1941 and 1946 his job was to instruct Australian and American troops that had been sent to recuperate on the Gold Coast. This was achieved through teaching techniques of Surf Lifesaving and finally awarding them with the bronze medallion.
He visited Victoria in 1947 and played a huge part in bringing the states lifesaving club in to affiliation with the Australian surf Lifesaving association by assisting to found the Victorians own state centre.
Allan Kennedys work brought him to England in 1951. Before leaving Australia he had been informed by a friend that the Atlantic surf on its beaches would remind him of home. Therefor to ease his symptoms of being homesick he visited Bude. This was now May 1952 and he had promised the SLSA's president, sir Adrian Curlewis before he departed Australia that he would continue his mission to promote awareness of Surf Lifesaving wherever his travels took him.
In the UK and in Australia until the birth of the SLSA the only recognised qualification was that given by the Royal Lifesaving Society.
Kennedy soon determined that people in Bude would be much better prepared to deal with emergencies in the surf if the SLSA provided them with a reel, line and belt and a surf ski. August 1953 and finally the equipment was delivered and Kennedy embarked on a weeks intensive training with members of Bude youth club among others. On completion 22 volunteers qualified for the Australian bronze medallion and the first Surf Lifesaving club was born in Britain.
St Agnes and Brighton Beach in Sussex were to follow suit and founded their own Surf Lifesaving clubs.
In the spring of 1955 at a meeting held in the St Agnes coastguard station a decision was made to begin the Great British Surf Lifesaving Association. Today in the UK there are over 7000 members from 70 associations!


I can remember as a small boy when the Club house was over the other side of the river at Crooklets beach being in ore of the Surf Club members who kept their surfboards there.
I was a Bude Surf Life Saving club member for many years, the young Bude surfers still keep their kit there as well as learning lifeguard skills and helping patrol and keep the beaches safe.
Surfing in Bude and Bude Surf Schools all originate from Bude Surf Life Saving Club and it continues to be a very positive force in the town!

Thanks Allan X