Bristol To Host World-Leading Adaptive Surfing Competition

Calls for National Funding for Para-Surfing, as Surfing makes its Olympic Debut

Bristol is to host to the 2021 dryrobe English Adaptive Surfing Open on Thursday 8thJuly. The event, which showcases the best adaptive surfers from across the UK and beyond, will take place at The Wave – a ground-breaking, inland surfing destination. It is hoped that this amazing event will build the case for national funding to be made available to support this rapidly growing para-sport.

Ben Powis, CEO at Surfing England says:

“As surfing makes its Olympic debut this year, it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of adaptive surfing and highlight the amazingly talented athletes we have in this country. Adaptive surfing continues to go from strength to strength, with the Team England Adaptive crew home to some of the world’s best.  We need the sport to gain more recognition, be funded at a national level and ultimately included in the Paralympics.”

This event is the 5th English Adaptive Open, an event which has grown exponentially over the last 5 years and is well recognised by national and international athletes. The Wave hosted the Adaptive Surfing Open for the first time last autumn and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better.

The inland surfing destination is particularly well suited to catering to those with adaptive needs, due to its accessible design, and the range and quality of the waves produced by its wave-making technology.

Nick Hounsfield, Founder of The Wave and Chair of Surfing England explains:

“Hosting the 2020 Open was a dream come true for me and the team, and we are so excited to build on the its success with the 2021 event. The Wave was built to be truly accessible to all, with the aim of bringing the physical and mental health benefits of surfing – as well as the pure joy of it – to more people, regardless of ability. Our UK adaptive surfing community helped develop the plans with us and were among the very first people to test the place out when we opened in late 2019.   

“Our wave-making technology allows us to run a range of different surfing waves at the touch of a button – and we aren’t at the mercy of the elements, which is perfect in terms of running a surfing competition.”

The Wave is the official high performance training centre for Team England, and the Adaptive crew are often found training on the lake’s glassy waves. The team at The Wave has also been instrumental in developing adaptive surfing in England, supporting Surfing England for the last 4 years to establish a contest which is now highly respected at a global level.

Event format

The core contest heats of the 2021 dryrobe English Adaptive Surfing Open will take place on the Advanced setting at The Wave, and surfers will be scored on their rides on both the left and right side of the lake. The competition will take place throughout the day, from 10am until around 6pm, with presentations to follow.

New to 2021, Surfing England is introducing the Waikiki Participation Session. This is where adaptive surfers who are above beginner level, but may not yet be confident enough to compete, can come along, surf and experience the day at the event and become familiar with the workings of surf competitions. This will take place on The Wave’s Waikiki setting – a gentle, spilling green wave. Volunteers will be on hand to support with water safety. This is a fantastic opportunity to start learning to ride green waves and also check out the contest and inspire the future of adaptive surfers. This session will take place 12-1pm on Thursday 8th July.


People are welcome to come and watch this brilliant event, and cheer on the athletes, but need to purchase one of The Wave’s usual Spectator Passes (£2) in advance to enter the site. These are available at

The event will run with strict COVID19 measures and Risk Assessments in place. Groups outside will be restricted to 30 and inside to 6 (or two households), with social distancing measures in place across the site.