Surf's up as Beach Social returns to Seaburn for Sunderland's surfers, wild swimmers, bodyboarders and others

A Beach Social is returning to Seaburn after the success of its first event earlier this summer.

Surfers, swimmers and fans of the great outdoors gathered at the first social event held last month, which was organised by Gary Wilson from the Bob Gnarly surf shop in Hylton Road.

The event, which also raised £150 for local charity The Special Lioness, proved such a hit that Gary is organising another Beach Social, which is aimed at people getting together to appreciate the beaches we have on our doorstep.

It will take place on Saturday, August 13 from 1pm on the area of beach in front of Little Italy and all are welcome.

The Beach Social is returning to Seaburn

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    Gary said: “The first Bob Gnarly Surf Beach Social was a great success. We had around 50 folk turn up throughout the afternoon, and we had a great time chatting and enjoying the beach and sea together.

    “It was such a great feeling to see so many folks joining us in the water and having fun on everything from surfboards, paddleboards, bodyboards and pretty much anything else that floated.”

    The event will once again raise funds for The Special Lioness, which supports families of children with disabilities. Raffle tickets can be purchased with the chance of winning an 11ft inflatable paddleboard complete set, worth more than £300. Tickets can be bought from the shop at 78 Hylton Road or on the day itself.

    National marine group, The Sea Shepherds, will also be on hand with equipment for beach cleanups and will be chatting to people who might be interested in volunteering to help maintain Sunderland’s beaches.

    Bob Gnarly's Gary Wilson and Amy Howes from The Special Lioness ahead of a surfing social event at Seaburn Beach.

    Gary opened his surf shop, the city’s only dedicated surf shop, earlier this year after building up a successful online business.

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    He saw a surge in sales over lockdown as more people took to the water and he says it’s great that more and more people are starting to appreciate the city’s beaches.

    He said: “I'm super committed to trying to encourage folk to use the amazing free facilities we have right here on our doorstep in Sunderland and promote the health and mental health benefits of getting in the water - whether that's just for a plodge, surfing, swimming, SUP boarding or kayaking.

    The first Beach Social was a great success

    "There has been an awesome response to the shop with folk coming in pretty much every day, some are beginners and some are topping up on accessories.

    “A lot of people come into the shop and say they’d lived here all their lives and hadn’t really used the water before the lockdowns.”

    Amy Howes, trustee of The Special Lioness, said: “We support families in the area of children with disabilities and life-limiting conditions, providing a support network with everything from coffee mornings to family events.

    "For a lot of families, it’s a way for them to make memories away from the day to day life, which can be difficult. We help special families make special memories.”

    The first Beach Social was a great success

    :: The next Bob Gnarly Surf Beach Social takes place on Saturday, August 13.

    The first Beach Social was a great success