Where to we meet?

Meet at the branded Sligo Surf Experience surf van in the designated surf school zone at the main car park from Strandhill. The main car park (Strandhill community car park) is 150 meters from the seafront. If you arrive at the seafront car park where the bars and cafes are you have gone too far. At the main car park are the surf schools, a bus stop for the Strandhill/Sligo bus and two coach parking bays as well as free parking.

How do I get to Strandhill?

Strandhill is a must visit signature point on the surf coast of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way - the longest defined coastal touring route in the world.

Strandhill is 7 kilometers from Sligo Town. From the M4 motorways, follow the signs for Strandhill. When you pass Sligo bus and train station it is 6 kilometers to Strandhill. You pass through two sets of traffic lights. When you enter Strandhill you will reach a small roundabout. Turn to the right by taking second exit. Turn right at the church and continue on to reach the seafront promenade at Strandhill Beach.

Sligo Surf Experience surf school is in the main park park at Strandhill. Turn left before you drive down Shore Road to the seafront car park. You will see the yellow Sligo Surf Experience on your left in the designated surf school zone.

If coming from Dublin (M4) or Galway (N17) on the M4, there is a turn off for Strandhill at Exit S1 about 6 kilometers from Sligo Town. This turn off takes you on a secondary road around the back of Knocknarea leading you to the Top Road in Strandhill. Follow the signs and take a left turn at the centre of Strandhill to lead you down the Shore Road to the beach.

Sligo Town is serviced by a network of national roads, N15 to the north, N17 to the south and the M4 motorway to the east. To drive from Dublin to Sligo takes 2.5 hours (slightly longer from Dublin airport). To drive from Belfast to Sligo takes 3 hours. To drive from Knock airport to Sligo takes 45 minutes.

2½ hours from Dublin by road, 3 hours travel from Belfast and 45 minutes from Knock airport. Sligo is a 2 hour drive from Galway city and a 2.5 hour drive from Shannon Airport.

Sligo Town is also accessible by bus or by train. There is a daily Sligo/Dublin rail service. You can check the Sligo train times here.
(Timetable PDF: 07 Dublin - Sligo)

There are regular bus services to Sligo from across the country including Dublin, Belfast, Galway and Donegal. Check the national bus company – Bus Eireann - website here buseireann.ie.

Sligo Dublin bus times Route 23.

Sligo Galway bus times Route 64.

There is a regular bus service to Strandhill with a stop at the shop directly across the road from Sligo bus and train station. A taxi from Sligo to Strandhill should cost around 15€.
You can check the Strandhill/Sligo bus times Route S2 here .

Is surfing difficult?

We make surfing in Sligo easy and accessible. Surfing will take a lifetime to master but you will learn the ABCs of surfing during our 2.5-hour beginner surf lesson under the watchful supervision of surfing experts. The only thing we ask our customers is to adopt a positive mental attitude (PMA). When you fall off that surfboard we want you to get right back on board and try again.

You don't need to be a fantastic athlete or a long-distance swimmer to enjoy your surf lesson with us. Surfing is for everybody. Whether you are 8 years old or 80 years old, the Sligo Surf Experience team will make sure you have a great time at the beach and experience the thrill of catching your first wave.

If you don't fancy using a surfboard we have bodyboards you can use for your surf experience. Bodyboards are lighter, safer and easier to use.

What is a group surf lesson?

A surf lesson is a fun and exciting introduction to the sport of surfing. You join a surf lesson as part of a supervised group surfing activity for adults and u16s. Group surf lessons are supervised and guided by surf instructors who are also qualified beach lifeguards who have been hand picked for the job so you are always in safe hands. You will learn about surfing equipment and safety during a surfing demonstration on the beach given by your instructor. You will learn how to hold your board and enter the water safely up to waist depth. You will learn how to lie on your board, paddle and catch a whitewater wave and stand up to your feet in one, two or three easy steps.

Our surf school operates according Irish Surfing guidelines with a 1:8 instructor/student ratio. Group surf lessons run with a minimum group size of 6 people with one instructor up to 24 people with 3 or 4 instructors. Depending on group size there will be at least one, two or three Sligo Surf Experience instructors present.

How much are surf lessons?

Group surf lessons last 2.5 hours and cost €40 for adults and €35 for u16s. All necessary surfing equipment is provided by the surf school and is included in the price.

Am I too old to surf?

You are never too old to learn to surf. Old dudes rule.

What is the minimum age for surf lessons?

The minimum age for surf lessons is 9 years old.

Am I too young to surf?

The minimum age for surf lessons is 9 years of age and the minimum age for bodyboarding lessons is 8 years of age.

What is a bodyboard lesson?

A bodyboard lesson is a fun and exciting introduction into the sport of bodyboarding. Where as our soft surfboards are between 7 to 9 feet in length, our bodyboards are between 36'' and 43'' and are designed to be ridden prone. Bodyboards are a safe, accessible and quick way to start catching whitewater waves and learn the basics of waveriding. Bodyboarding is easy to learn but difficult to master.

Bodyboard lessons are an open group experience that are run the same way we run surf lessons. On the beach, your instructor will introduce you to your bodyboarding equipment, show you how to lie on the board correctly and to jump and catch whitewater waves in waist depth water.

Where to I eat/drink?

There are several great places to eat and drink are the beachfront promenade in Strandhill:

Shells Cafe and Little Shop: wonderful seaside cafe and bakery run by surfers Jane and Myles. (shellscafe.com)

Mammy Johnsons: Anyone fancy some of the best ice cream in Ireland? Coffees and treats also available.

Voya Seaweed baths now have a convenient coffee shop outside their seaweed baths.

The Strand Bar: The original surfer's bar in Strandhill. The Strand do a great lunch and all day pizza menu. Also a great place for a drink and some live music in the evenings. (thestrandbar.ie)

Stoked Restaurant: Stoked restaurant above The Strand come highly recommended: feature local surf legend Shane Meehan as chef. (stokedstrandhill.ie)

On the Top Road in Strandhill, the Venue features a small old world, traditional Irish bar that dates back to 1880. The Venue also has a large, modern steak and seafood restaurant out the back with an excellent view of the Atlantic Ocean ( venuestrandhill.ie).

The Dunes Bar is another great bar on the Top Road of Strandhill famous for its live music and delicious burger menu. The pub has a great atmosphere and the service is excellent. And the beer garden out the back has great views of Knocknarea. (thedunes.ie)

Where will I stay?

The Ocean Wave Lodge is a highly recommended family-run self-catering style accommodation located centrally on the Top Road of Strandhill. For bookings call 071 9168115 or visit oceanwavelodge.com.

Self-catering accommodation is also available above the Dunes Bar. For bookings call 087 9883644 or visit thedunes.ie.

Strandhill Lodge and Suites is a relaxing four star hotel offering luxury accommodation located on the Top Road in Strandhill. To book call 071 9122122 or visit strandhilllodgeandsuites.ie.

The Cois Farraige apartments are luxury self-catering apartments located at the heart of the village along Strandhill seafront. The apartments have stunning views of both Knocknarea and the Atlantic Ocean. To book call 0877401483 or visit coisfarraigestrandhill.com.

The Beachfront Apartment is a private beach front apartment overlooking the waves at Strandhill Beach.

The Cois Re apartments are located on the Top Road of Strandhill. To book call 087 9574358 or visit coisreapartments.com.

The Strandhill Caravan and Camping site is located right beside Strandhill Beach and is open from April to September. For more info call 071 9168111 or visit sligocaravanandcamping.ie.

For more information on Strandhill accommodation, please visit Go Strandhill.

There a several hotels in Sligo Town to choose from:
The Southern Hotel
The Sligo Park Hotel
The Clayton Hotel
The Raddisson Hotel

There are two hostel options in Sligo Town
The Beehive Hostel
The Railway Hostel

How much are bodyboarding lessons?

Bodyboarding lessons last 2.5 hours and cost €35 for adults and €30 for u16s. All necessary bodyboarding equipment is provided by the surf school and is included in the price.

What is the minimum age for bodyboarding lessons?

The minimum age for bodyboarding lessons is 8 years old. 8 year olds must be accompanied by an adult.

How long is a surf lesson?

Surf lessons last 2.5 hours.

Will I be cold?

No. The wetsuits and boots we give you to wear for your surf lesson will keep you nice and warm in the water.

Sligo Surf Experience stocks a wide range of super warm, 5 millimetre Tiki winter wetsuits that keep our customers warm even in the winter when the sea temperatures get as low as ten or eleven degrees. You also wear 5 millimetre surf boots during their surf lesson. Our customers are always telling us they were surprised how warm their wetsuits were during their surf lesson.

Sea temperatures along the Sligo coast reach a maximum of 15 or 16 degress in the summer. In winter, we also supply our surfers with hoods and gloves which means you can surf comfortably all year round. It is definitely not Hawaii. But surfing in Ireland is not as cold as you think it is when you are wearing the right equipment.

If you do get cold during your surf lesson simply tell your surf instructor and they will guide you back to surf school where you can get changed back into your clothes and get warm.

Is the equipment included?

Yes, all necessary surfing equipment is provided by the surf school and is included in the price: surfboards/bodyboards, wetsuits, boots. You need to bring swimming gear, a towel and a back pack for belongings.

What qualifications do my surf instructors have?

Your surf instructors hold an Irish Water Safety beach lifeguard qualification, a level 1 surf instructor qualification from Irish Surfing and a Safeguarding 1 Children's Safety Protection course from Sport Ireland. Surf instructors have also received on-site training from Sligo Surf Experience manager Seamus Mc Goldrick who has ten years experience running surf lessons and organising children's surf camps at Strandhill Beach.
What safety precautions are taken by the surf school?

Sligo Surf Experience run surf lessons at Strandhill according to Irish Surfing guidelines which establish best-practice procedure for Irish surf schools.

We only use trained and qualified surf instructors to guide and supervise surfing groups. Surf instructors choose the safest, most suitable parts of the beach for each surf lesson. A safe surfing area is marked out by a pair of flags and groups are instructed to stay within their depth and stay within the area.

Instructors use walkie-talkies and a mobile phone for communication. Surf instructors take a first aid kit and rescue equipment to the beach for a surf lesson. Sligo Surf Experience has a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan in case of any incident or accident. Sligo Surf Experience has an excellent safety record and you are always in safe hand when you visit our surf school.

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, you should book in advance to avoid disappointment. Places on our surf lessons are limited and are often fully booked, especially during our peak season in July and August. We do accept short notice and walk in bookings on surf lessons when there is space.

You can book online via our website or send us a booking inquiry via email.

What payment do you accept?

We accept all major debit/credit cards when booking online. We also accept cash on the day if you prefer. We do not have a card payment facility on the beach. So if paying in cash, please withdraw money before you arrive to the surf school. There is an ATM beside the surf school at the Strand Bar. Exact change is not necessary.

Where can I park my car?

Sligo Surf Experience is located in the main car park at Strandhill. So there is lots of car parking available. Parking is free.

Where will the lessons take place?

All our surf lessons take place at Strandhill Beach.

How early should I arrive?

You should arrive at the appointed time. Our 2.5 hour surf lessons include 15 minutes for initial check-in and changing.

It is a good idea to plan to arrive to Strandhill 15 mins early to find a car parking space and located the surf school. Please try to be on time or else you may keep other surfers waiting.

How safe are surf lessons?

Our surf lessons are quite safe and Sligo Surf Experience has an excellent safety record. Our customers safety is our number one concern. Stepping into the ocean to try surfing is not without its risks. However, our surfing instructors follow a rigorous lesson plan to minimises any risks to your safety at Strandhill Beach.

The instructor will bring a phone and walkie talkie to the beach for effective communication. The instructor will choose the safest part of the beach for your surf lesson. Your instructor will also being a safety bag to the beach containing a first aid kit and other essential materials. Irish Surfing guidelines require us to have a rescue tube on the beach.

Our instructors use a set of two flags to mark the safest spot on the beach and instruct their group to stay within the flags at all times using hand signals and whistle signals. Everyone in your group will be surfing in waist depth water and instructors will not let you out of your depth.

Is the equipment included?

Yes, all necessary surfing equipment is provided by the surf school and is included in the price: surfboards/bodyboards, wetsuits, boots. You need to bring swimming gear, a towel and a back pack for belongings.

What do I need to bring?

Please bring suitable clothing, swimming gear for under your wetsuit and a towel. A back pack for your belongings and a warm jacket are also recommended. All other necessary surfing equipment will be provided by the surf school (soft surfboards, bodyboards, 5 mm winter wetsuits, 5 mm surf boots).

Water resistant suncream is also advisable for the summer months. Swimming google are unnecessary.

What is your Covid safety policy?

Sport Ireland and Irish Surfing, the national governing body for the sport in Ireland, have allowed surf schools to operate provided they implement a thorough Covid Safety Plan. Safety is number one at Sligo Surf Experience and Covid is no exception. For the last two years, Sligo Surf Experience have successfully operated under our comprehensive Covid Safety Plan. By implementing a few simple, straightforward changes, our customers have been able to return to the waves and have as much fun as ever in a supportive and safe environment. Thankfully, our surf school has had zero Covid incidents.

All our wetsuits and surf boots that are used by customers are going through a rigorous cleaning phase before they can be used by the next customer. All our wetsuits and booties are washed in a heavy duty neoprene shampoo to completely clean and sanitise each piece of equipment. Wetsuits and boots are left for at least 48 hours before being used by another customer.

Will you have a wetsuit to fit me?

Yes. We have wetsuits to fit every type from an eight year old child to a large or extra large surfer.

I have my own wetsuit, should I bring it?

If it not necessary to bring a wetsuit to your surf lesson as all wetsuits are provided. If you have your own wetsuit and you would like to bring it you are welcome to do so. However, if this wetsuit does not fit the criteria of a safe, warm wetsuit your instructor will give you one of the wetsuits provided instead.

Where do we get changed?

Sligo Surf Experience customers have access to changing rooms in the Strandhill Caravan and Camping site. However, these changing rooms have been closed due to covid restrictions since March 2020.

What happens if I have an accident?

If you have an accident you will be looked after by your surf instructor. All surf instructors are Irish water Safety certified beach lifeguards and experienced surfers. Sligo Surf Experience has a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan and procedures in place for surf instructors to follow in the event of any accident.

Sligo Surf Experience has an excellent safety record. Surfing is a risky activity but statistically it is a relatively safe sport on par with long distance running for the number of participants v.s. number of injuries.

Where can I store my personal belongings?

You can store your personal belonging at the surf school for the duration of your surf lesson. You belongings will be securely stored in the surf school van. Baskets will be provided but it is recommended you bring a backpack for your belongings.

Where do I go to the toilet?

Sligo Surf Experience customers can use the public toilets beside the surf school.

How is your surf camp different to your group surfing lessons?

Group surf lessons last 2.5 hours and are an accessible introduction to surfing. Our surf camps are five surf lessons each day, Monday to Friday, that form a structured course to help you learn the basics and improve your surfing skills. Our five day surf camps are available at a 20% discount.

Surf camps run weekdays in July and August. We also run surf camps during school breaks at Easter and Halloween. Our most popular surf camp is our award winning Ocean Warrior surf camp, suitable for 9 – 15 year olds. Our Ocean Warrior camps include surfing, bodyboarding, beach games, environmental education, water safety and ocean awareness and, of course, lots of fun in the ocean. All Ocean Warrior surf camps are personally supervised by Seamus Mc Goldrick, Sligo Surf Experience manager and children's officer.

We also run five day surf camps in July and August for teenagers aged 16 -18 and adults. You can book our Ocean Warrior surf camp online via our website. For more information on teen and adult surf camps please send us an email.

What are private surf lessons?

Private surf lessons are surf lessons for between 1 – 6 people with their own dedicated surf instructor. Private surf lessons are suitable for people who do not wish to join a group or on days when there are less than six people and group surfing discounts do not apply. Private surf lessons start at €50 per person.

Private surf lessons last 2.5 hours and all necessary surfing equipment is provided by the surf school and is included in the price.

During peak season or busy periods, availability of private surf lessons is subject to surf instructor availability.

One person: €80
Two people : €60 pp
Three + people : €50 pp

Are there showers I can use?

There are currently no shower facilities for surfers at Strandhill Beach. Failte Ireland are building a surf centre of excellence at Strandhill Beach with shower and changing facilities. These facilities will be open for use for Sligo Surf Experience customers in 2022/23

What happens if there are no waves?

If the surf forecast shows that the waves will be too small, the surf school manager will contact you to rearrange your booking. If you are unable to return on another suitable date, your booking will be cancelled and you will be entitled to a full refund.

If the waves are too small on the day, your surf instructor may cancel the lesson. If you have prepaid for your lesson you will be entitled to a refund.

What happens if the waves are too big?

If the surf forecast shows that the waves will be too big, the surf school manager will contact you to rearrange your booking. If you are unable to return on another suitable date, your booking will be cancelled and you will be entitled to a full refund.

If the waves are too big on the day or the weather is stormy your surf instructor will cancel the lesson. If you have prepaid for your lesson you will be entitled to a refund.

What happens if it rains?

As it is Ireland, it is always a good idea to bring a rain jacket. Surf lessons still go ahead in rainy weather. In fact, surfing is one of the best rainy day activities you can do in Ireland. Once you have the wetsuits on the rain will not matter.

What happens if I have an accident?

If you have an accident you will be looked after in a professional and courteous manner by your surf instructor. All surf instructors are Irish Water Safety certified beach lifeguards and experienced surfers. Your safety is our number one concern. Sligo Surf Experience has an excellent safety record. But accidents can and do happen. Sligo Surf Experience has a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan and procedures in place in the event of any accident.

Surfing is a risky activity but statistically it is a relatively safe sport compared with cycling, running, horse riding or skiing when you look at the number of injuries versus the number of participants.

Do I need to know how to swim?

All our surf lessons take place in waist depth water. However, it is recommended that anyone trying a surf lesson should first be able to swim 5 meters in a pool. If you are unsure whether you would like to go surfing or not, perhaps you should take some swimming lessons and come back in a month when you feel more confident in the water.

Wetsuit help you float and will be standing on the sand in for most of your surf experience in waist depth water close to the shore. Surf lessons are a great way to boost your confidence in the water, overcome your fears, learn basic water safety and ocean awareness and have lots of fun in the sea.

What kind of boards do you use?

We have an excellent range of surfboards and bodyboard to suit beginner and intermediate surfers and people of all sizes. We have softboards which make is easy for beginners to learn to catch whitewater. Softboards mean no hard feelings. We do not allow customers to bring their own hard boards on group surf lessons. Surfers who want to use their own hard boards should book a private lesson or one to one coaching.

We have top of the range Alder, Tiki and Ocean and Earth softboards ranging from 6 to 9 feet. We also have some Torq boards for intermediate surf lessons and private coaching. We stock top of the range Science and Pride pro model bodyboards for our bodyboarding lessons to suit all sizes: from 8 year olds up to our large or extra large surfers.

How many surf lessons do I need before I can surf?

We will try to get you standing on your very first lesson. Some people are lucky and get to their feet on their very first wave. Other people may need to do two or three surf lessons before they get a really good ride and get to their feet. Surfing is not easy but it is easy to have fun.

English is not my first language.

If English is not a customer's first language, let us know before the lesson. Once an instructor knows a surfers English proficiency they can pitch the surf demonstration on the beach to the correct level. If a participant has no English, safety procedure and surfing basics can be communicated using a non-verbal surfing demonstration using all visual cues.

I have some medical conditions, who should I tell?

All medical conditions and personal injuries should be reported to your surfing instructor before the lesson, usually at the surf lesson sign in. Disclosures include asthma, old injuries, new injuries/recent falls, poor vision et cetra.

I have some special needs, can I still go surfing?

Surfing is for everyone including people with additional/special needs. However, it is important you let your surf instructor know about any special needs or medical conditions you may have prior to your surf lesson.

Depending on a number of factors, it may be preferable to book a private lesson rather than a group lesson for certain groups or individuals.

What do I do if I have a complaint?

Please contact the Sligo Surf Experience manager, Seamus Mc Goldrick if you have any trouble or complaints. Seamus is also the mandated Sligo Surf Experience children's officer so any concerns for the safety of minors should be reported directly to him.

How cool will I look if I stand up on the board?

Pretty cool!

What is a level 2 surf lesson?

Level 2 coaching is for surfers who have mastered whitewater skills (paddling, catching whitewater waves and turning left and right).

If you are confident you perfected your surfboard pop up and learn some intermediate surf skills like paddling out the back and catching unbroken waves you can try a level 2 surf lesson/

Head coach Seamus Mc Goldrick is a level 2 surf instructor and has developed an intermediate surf coaching course with Irish Surfing. Intermediate surfers need to learn ten new surfing skill. We can do one on one coaching. Or you can try a structured two, three or four lesson program. The surfer's level is accessed in lesson one and a progression plan with achievable goals tailored to each surfers individual needs is drawn up between coach and surfer.

After lesson one, the surfer is expected to practice a number of coaching points before returning for lesson 2 to continue the program.

Advanced coaching is designed for experience surfers who own their own equipment. It is ideal for people wanting to learn how to paddle out beyond the whitewater, do duckdives or learn maneuvers like cutbacks or spins. Maybe you are thinking about planning your first surf trip or entering your first longboarding, shortboarding or bodyboarding contest? A level 2 surf lesson can help you achieve your surfing goals quicker.

Send us an email for more information.