Surfari Improver Day Trip 9th June
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Frequently asked questions

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Is there parking?

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There is ample free parking at our location at Cullen Beach and in the surrounding area.

What are your opening times?

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As a mobile business we have flexible opening times and locations so we can find the best conditions of the day, however in summer you can expect to find us at Cullen Beach every day from morning until evening. Outside of the summer season we are open for bookings and when the conditions are good.

Lesson availability is updated on our online booking system and bookings can be made online 24 hours a day. You will automatically receive confirmation and full joining instructions.

What times are your lessons?

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We have flexible lesson timing to ensure we make the best of the conditions, and times vary depending on which activity you choose and the tide times. All times are available on our online booking system.

Do I need to be able to swim?

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We ask that everybody taking part in our surf lessons can swim unaided. During a beginner surf session there is no need to go any deeper than standing waist-depth water as you’ll be practicing in broken waves.

For paddleboard activities, coasteering adventures, and equipment hire, all participants must be able to swim 50 metres.

What are the age limits?

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All ages are welcome to join us surfing! Under 8s must be accompanied by an adult on surf lessons.

The minimum age for paddleboard lessons is 8 years old, and for coastal tours 12 years old.

For Coasteering, ages 12+ are welcome to join our open group Coasteering Adventures. Our private Family Coasteering Adventures are suitable for ages 8+.

You're never too old to get in the sea and have a go!

What if I have a medical need?

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If you have any medical needs, disabilities, injuries or special requirements, just give us a call and we can talk through how best we can cater for your needs during your experience. We aim to be an inclusive surf school.

When and where should I meet you for my lesson?

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For surf lessons, meet on the beach by our trailer 15 minutes prior to your lesson start time. If you have booked a paddleboard lesson you will be given a meeting point when booking. For our Coasteering Adventures, the start point is Portknockie Harbour, please meet us there at our trailer.

Will I be cold?

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The water temperature in the Moray Firth ranges from 7-15°C. We find our high-quality 5mm thick winter wetsuits keep our customers toasty, as well as gloves, boots, and hoods if needed. We've had no complaints! You should be warm and comfortable for the duration of your lesson with us.

Do you provide all equipment?

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Yes, all the kit is provided for your lessons, including warm wetsuits and wetsuit accessories if needed (gloves, boots, hood), as well as buoyancy aids for paddleboarding and helmets for coasteering. For coasteering - please bring a pair of trainers that you don't mind getting wet (not Crocs or wetsuit shoes).

What do I need to bring?

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Please bring a towel, sunscreen, and water. We recommend you arrive with swimwear on (for under your wetsuit) as it makes it easier to get changed at the beach.

I've got my own equipment, can I use it for the lesson?

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We’ve got everything you need here, but if you’ve invested in your own wetsuit you’re welcome to bring it along if it is suitable for the conditions and activity. We use quality 5mm winter wetsuits to keep you really toasty, and have gloves, boots, and hoods available.

If you'd like to use your own surfboard or paddleboard during a lesson or tour, please give us a call first so we can make sure it's suitable.

Can you surf / SUP in the winter?

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Yes of course! Blue Coast is open for private and group enquiries year-round. The limiting factor is equipment as temperatures drop in winter; we use quality thick winter wetsuits to keep you cosy! As the saying goes: there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

How can I book and do I need to book in advance?

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We recommend advance booking online using our booking system so we can get you booked in on the day of your choice. You can book at the beach but we cannot guarantee availability for same or next day sessions.

Do you offer discounts?

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We offer special prices for family groups and couples, selectable on our online booking system.

We also offer a 25% discount on all lessons & tours to all members of the emergency services, social workers, NHS workers, & military personnel.

We also offer a 15% discount to returning customers, students, and members of the Scottish Surfing Federation. Please see our price list for the relevant codes that can be used on our online booking system.

If you're part of a group such as a school group, a stag or hen do, or a corporate & workplace team-building enquiry, please contact us to enquire about group pricing.

Can I pay with card at the beach?

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Yes, we accept all major cards and we also take cash.

What if the conditions are not appropriate for my booked session?

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We schedule our lessons around reliable weather & wave forecasts, however conditions can change very quickly and this can be unpredictable. The safety of our clients is of the highest importance to us and we will never run lessons in unsafe conditions. If we deem conditions are not appropriate on the day we will try to contact you in advance.

In the very rare event that we have to cancel a lesson we will:

  • Rearrange for another day / give a credit voucher for an equivalent future booking
  • Offer you an alternative activity if conditions allow
  • Give a full refund

What if it's raining or bad weather?

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The safety of our clients is of the highest importance to us and we will never run lessons in unsafe conditions. However, we do not cancel lessons when it's raining. We'll all be getting wet anyway and it can be a unique experience!

Do I need ID or a deposit to hire equipment?

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Yes, we safely store your ID (passport, driving license, etc) while you hire equipment outwith lessons. For multi-day hires, or SUP or surfboard rentals you intend to use at another location, we require a returnable deposit which will be discussed with you at the time of hire.

I've booked a lesson, but I'd like to change the date/time?

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If you'd like to reschedule your lesson, please contact us as early as possible as we arrange instructor cover based on bookings received. We will do our best to accommodate booking changes where possible. Please see our Terms & Conditions for more information on changes and cancellations.

I've got an inhaler / insulin / medication, can I bring it with me on my lesson?

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Of course, one of the instructors carries a waterproof backpack to the shore or on SUP lessons, so we can take anything you need with us.

Is there somewhere to leave belongings?

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We have limited space in our van or trailer, however we recommend leaving your belongings in your vehicle once changed. We can look after your keys during your session.

Will I be safe during my activity?

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All of our locations and activities are risk-assessed and all of our instructors hold lifesaving, first aid, and coaching qualifications. Your safety is our highest priority; you can rest assured that you're in good hands.

I am nervous and not a strong swimmer, will I be ok?

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Try a beginner surf lesson as this activity takes place in waist depth water, with a surfboard that floats, and you will have an instructor with you the entire time; we work with you to develop your confidence in the water. If you're nervous around the ocean we encourage you to get in touch so we can discuss your concerns in advance of your lesson and put your mind at rest.

How fit do you have to be to take part?

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Providing you are able to swim (unaided for surf lessons and 50m for paddleboard / coasteering activities) and you have no current health issues or injuries preventing you from taking part in physical activity you can participate.

Surfing is more physical than paddleboarding but you will be able to progress in either sport at your own pace, and all activities can be adapted to you; fun will be had by all.

We have a wide range of wetsuits to cater for all shapes and sizes.

How many people will be in a group lesson?

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Our group lessons are run at a maximum of 8 students per instructor for a high-quality experience. Private lessons are also available if you would like one-to-one coaching.

Do you have shower facilities or changing rooms?

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Unfortunately we do not have changing facilities available yet, however arriving with a swimsuit on (for under your wetsuit) will make it easier to get changed.

There are public toilets at the beach but sadly, we do not have shower facilities yet.

Are there toilets at the beach?

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Yes, the beach public toilets are run by the local Friends of Cullen volunteer group.

Is there anywhere for food or refreshments nearby?

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Yes, there are catering and coffee businesses based at the beach as well as a variety of cafes, pubs, and restaurants in the town and local area for something to eat or drink.

Is the beach dog-friendly?

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Yes, dogs are welcome at Cullen beach. However, if you are taking part in one of our activities, someone from your party will need to remain on the beach with your furry companion! Please leave the beach as you found it.


What will I learn in my first lesson?

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Your first lesson will cover:

  • Beach & ocean safety
  • Surf equipment
  • Wave selection
  • Catching broken waves independently
  • Pop-up technique (standing up)

How long does a surf lesson last?

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A surf lesson lasts two hours after we're changed and on the beach, including theory on the beach and ample time in the water with our instructors for guided practice.

How many lessons will it take me to stand up?

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There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone is unique. However, we hope to get everyone standing and getting a feel for the board in the first session. We suggest taking 4-5 lessons to get a comfortable grasp of the basics; improving on stability and control of the board, and getting longer rides!

Can I wear my glasses in the water?

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We advise against wearing glasses in the surf in case they fall off! However, you will be able to wear them during the instruction part of the lesson on the sand. They can then be stored in our instructor's bag on the beach whilst you’re practicing in the water.

Can we surf together as a family?

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Yes, we offer family lessons and group discounts. Please see our families page.

After taking a beginner lesson, will I need any more lessons? How do I progress?

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Our focus in the first lessons is teaching you the basics while having a lot of fun. We focus on water safety, catching waves and standing up on your board in the white-water surf zone. If you want to progress towards intermediate level, paddling out back (beyond the broken waves) and riding along the face of green unbroken waves, you will require more lessons.

We'd suggest taking 4-5 lessons to begin with and getting a comfortable grasp of the basics, and then practicing on your own while coming back for the occasional lesson to progress further, learn more advanced techniques, and ensure you're not developing bad habits. The best way to get better at surfing is consistent guided practice over time, on the right equipment and in the right conditions. We offer 3 Days Surf Lessons and 5 Days Surf Lessons packages, Surfari Surf Trips, as well as equipment hire and aWhatsApp group with updates on conditions to help you do this.

When should I move on to to a smaller board so I can duck dive and paddle out back?

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We highly recommend sticking to bigger foam boards until you have learned how to turn left and right on smaller green waves. Moving onto smaller boards too soon reduces your wave count and can really hinder your progress and improvement.

There are intermediate techniques to getting out back on a bigger board such as the turtle roll, as well as (crucially) choosing the right place and time to paddle out. When you get them going, bigger foam boards paddle much quicker than small shortboards; it's almost always human factors that are making it difficult. Our surf lessons are catered to your personal goals, so talk to your instructor and we'll be happy to keep you right.


What will I learn?

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An Introduction to SUP lesson will cover:

  • Types of SUP equipment and their uses
  • Weather conditions & safety
  • Control techniques; knee paddling and stand up paddling
  • Safe way to stand up and kneel down
  • Self-rescue
  • Correct paddle technique

What if I don't have the balance to stand up?

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Don’t worry, every SUP session starts by learning how to paddle on your knees and you can still enjoy all the elements of the session knee paddling.

What if I fall in?

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This is all part of the fun. The main thing is not to panic; you're attached to a big float which you'll be able to climb back on to relatively easily. If you have any problems, your instructor will be there with you to help.

What if I drop my paddle?

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The paddles float, don't worry! Try to retrieve it quickly, you will be able to manoeuvre your board using your hands. Your instructor will be there to lend a hand if you have any problems.

Can I wear my glasses in the water?

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It is best not to wear glasses if possible. However, if your level of sight means you'll need them, this should not be a problem in calm conditions. We suggest using a floating lanyard or set of floating straps, or using disposable contact lenses if possible.

How long does a SUP lesson last?

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An Introduction to SUP lesson lasts two hours after we're changed and ready to go, including a land-based introduction and ample time in the water with our instructors learning techniques.

I have bought my own SUP, will I learn enough from a lesson to go out on my own?

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We aim to teach you the skills to go out paddling safely and independently. This will include precautions to take when going out unsupervised, self-rescue, and important knowledge about suitable weather & sea conditions.

I've paddled before, can I go on a SUP tour?

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You must already be a competent paddler to join one of our SUP tours. This means being able to confidently control the direction of your board and make steady progress. If you're in any doubt, consider taking one of our Introduction to SUP lessons first.

How long does a SUP tour last?

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A SUP tour typically lasts about 2 hours; this is dependent on the route of the tour that day and the weather conditions.

Can I take a camera with me?

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Yes. It needs to be waterproof and secured with a lanyard or similar. Make sure your camera will not sink; some waterproof cameras like GoPros require an additional flotation device to float. We'd love to see any photos you take!

I've never tried paddleboarding or yoga before but I'd like to try a SUP Yoga class. Would this be suitable?

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We offer a combined Introduction to Paddleboarding and SUP Yoga Class over two hours which would suit you perfectly!


What is coasteering?

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Coasteering is a unique and adventurous way to immerse yourself and be guided through the intertidal zone, allowing you to explore and reach areas you would otherwise be unable to access. Coasteering incorporates wild swimming, low level traversing/climbing, and deep-water cliff jumps.

We have carefully designed our routes to cater for all, from beginner adventures to seasoned thrill-seekers. All challenges are optional, but fun and adventure are guaranteed!

Do I have to do the jumps?

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No not at all. You don’t have to do any of the jumps if you don’t want to. We always start small and work our way up.

Our coasteering sessions are about exploring and journeying along the coastline, enjoying the unique perspective and experience. Jumping is a part of the adventure but not the main element, and all jumps are optional.

You will always be given the option to challenge yourself, whether that is a small jump or large but in no way will you be pressured into doing something you are uncomfortable with.

Is coasteering safe?

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Yes, Coasteering is very safe. It is however an adventurous activity and as such allows for a certain amount of risk. Your guide will always dynamically assess the risk benefit of the activity and adjust for the conditions and participants ability / level of confidence. Your safety is our absolute priority and activities will never run in unsafe conditions.

Our coasteering guides are all qualified lifeguards and National Coasteering Charter trained Coasteer guides who are assessed by an external technical expert at our venue to the highest standard. We are fully insured by Activities Industry Mutual and licensed by the Adventure Activity Licensing Authority.

I've never been coasteering before, can I still do it?

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Yes. 99% of the people that join us have no prior coasteering experience.

Still have questions? Contact us and we'll be happy to help.
At ease.
A state of flow.
Breathe easy.
No paddle no surf.
Beyond the beach.
Everything else falls away.
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