the wave bristol main entrance

Inland surfing at the Wave Bristol with kids

One thing we’ve really missed this year is catching a wave. Being located in the middle of the country, far away from the coastline has made it almost impossible to get to the sea. I was over the moon to discover an inland surfing lake in Somerset. Here’s what you need to know about visiting The Wave Bristol with kids.

What is the Wave Bristol?

Opened in October 2019 the Wave is an inland surfing Lake about twenty minutes outside of Bristol. It has an 180m long surf lake which is capable of generating 1,000 waves an hour. They can range from gentle 50cm waves to up to 2m for more experienced surfers. This ensures the perfect waves every single day for all ages and abilities.

group of surfers in wetsuits waiting to jump in at the wave bristol

The Surf Lesson at the Wave Bristol with kids

For me, this is where the Wave really comes into its own. The lessons are not just for the usual safety concerns, they’ll give you brilliant hints and tips to actually give you a chance of catching your first wave. Each lesson lasts for an hour and a half. Around 30 minutes of that is on dry land and is just as helpful and the wet stuff.

Our instructor was absolutely brilliant. The lesson consisted of all ages and abilities and she somehow managed to engage each and every one. Piper was probably the youngest at 10. Although she’s never surfed before she’s body boarded on many Cornish beaches so is used to chasing waves. She was super excited to give it a go.

The lesson took her through how to position herself on the board, how to paddle out, some techy bits about where and when to stand and how to actually get two feet up.

After this it was off out into the water. Her class lined up, paddled out and took it in turns to ride back to shore. All watched over, by the instructors. Offering advice and support where needed.

What we’d do differently

Piper took the lesson on her own, we left booking too late so couldn’t all get in. So firstly, book early so you can all take part. This meant she was a bit more nervous than usual, I just wanted to be in the water with her to give her encouragement. She struggled a bit with the size of the board, I wish we’d shown her how to carry it easily before she started.

The water was freezing, we were visiting at 9am on an April morning. I wish we’d warned her before hand just how cold it would be, and taken some gloves to protect her hands. She didn’t quite last out the whole hour in the water. Not that it was a problem at all but next time I’m sure she’ll stay for the full session.

It’s not just about the waves

The wave is essentially all about health, wellness and sustainability. It wants to encourage people to enjoy being outdoors, to discover a fitness activity that’s actually enjoyable and connect with a group of like minded people. The power of water has long been recognised as being beneficial to all ages. So anywhere we can jump in is a yes for us!

piper quinn in ripcurl wetsuit at the wave bristol

What do I need to take with me?

Pretty much nothing! If you’re booked in for a lesson, the wave provides wetsuits, boots, boards, rash vests and helmets. I do recommend a couple of towels and some snuggly jumpers. You’ll want to cosy up after your lesson.

Make sure you arrive for your lesson an hour before it starts. This will give you time to check in, work out your meeting point, change into your suit and grab a coffee or hot chocolate before you start. It will take 15 minutes to walk from the carpark down to the main entrance. It’s just under a mile and the brisk walk is a welcome way to warm up before your session.

Can I change at the Wave

Yes, there are plenty of hut style changing rooms and some outdoor showers. Not all of the changing rooms lock but as we went in together it wasn’t a problem. There are plenty of toilets which I recommend using before you start your lesson.

Safety first

You’ll need to watch a safety video and sign a waiver online before your visit. During the lesson your instructors will take you through everything you need to know to keep you safe in the water. They provide helmets which must be warn at all times in the water and teach you how to protect yourselves when surfing in the actual sea.

Where to eat at the Wave

The Wave has an amazing onsite cafe and bar. We enjoyed a coffee and bacon sarnie before Piper started her lesson. It was lovely to be able to sit outside and watch the surfers catching the first waves of the day.

The cafe is also open for lunch and dinner, serving food up to 8.30pm. Food is mostly seasonal and as natural as possible. In line with the overall ethos of The Wave. The cafe is contemporary and bright in style. I’m definitely hoping to return for one of their food pop ups over summer.

surf boards on grass

The Wave Bristol Prices

Pipers 1.5 hour lesson cost £40. This included wetsuit and surfboard hire. An adult lesson would be £50. A Waikiki session with no lesson that lasts for an hour starts at £35 for kids and takes place in the Reef area of the lake.

If you just want to visit the Wave Bristol and watch the other surfers enjoy the waves, a spectator pass costs £2.

Where to stay to visit the Wave

This month the Wave are launching a brand new campsite. It’s home to 25 ready built tents with private bathrooms, kitchenettes and comfortable beds. Each tent sleeps up to 8 people. I’d love to try them out one day.

We recently stayed at the Aztec Hotel Bristol which was a lovely family friendly hotel with pool. It’s only ten minutes drive from the Wave.

Check out my full post for more amazing things to do in Bristol with kids.

Make sure you pin for later to plan your visit to the Wave Bristol with kids.

the wave bristol with kids pin image

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