2017 - a great year for Christian Surfers UK
Looking back, 2017 was a busy year for Christian Surfers UK as Its been a great year as David Renyard, Regional Coordinator for the South West reports.
Our theme that spread across 2017 has been based on Proverbs 16:3 - 'Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.' This focus on prayer has been key before and during all our events and has been prominent in all our communications. This focus on prayer has preceded a very busy Summer and Autumn that has seen Christian Surfers connect with surf communities all over the UK and serve at various and partnering with many organisations in the UK surf community.
I organised a prayer event together with Cornwall Prayer Initiative for all the CS Cornwall members, partnering with a Church in Porthtowan. This is something we will continue to do in 2018 with Prayer events in Cornwall to unpin everything we do.
Our local groups have also been busy and are always looking to help these groups grow in their outreach and also establish new groups
My heart for the members around Cornwall (our main area for surfing) is that they continue to integrate into their local surf community, whether that is surfing regularly, being active in a surf club or investing in individuals. As we become more a part of the fabric of our local surf communities and be salt and light to those people, our hope is that the atmosphere changes and opportunities to share our faith naturally open. Over the years we have connected with many surfers and have been able to sow into their lives and we have seen hearts soften to Jesus.
We have been particularly active at some major events:
Christian Surfers UK National Gathering – this took place at the Tubestation in Polzeath under blue skies, out to sea. Around 100 members of Christian Surfers UK gathered together to encourage each other and look forward to another year of serving the UK surfing community and bring the gospel to beach all over the UK.
It was fantastic to have Sarah Yardley, from Creation Fest as our key speaker. She unpacked the verse Proverbs 16:3, ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.’ and share the story of her journey with the Lord.
On the Saturday evening, we had baptisms in the sea as the sun set in the sky and a time of reflecting and sharing stories from the past year.
To get a feel for what a great time God filled time we had watch our video
Boardmasters - is a huge International surf and music festival held in Newquay, one of the biggest of its kind in Europe’s. Christian Surfers have served at this event in various forms for almost 15 years and have built up a good relationship with the event organisers. For the past few years we have been asked to head up the hospitality for the Surfers Area. This is brilliant because we get to continue to deepen friendships and get to get alongside people for a week.
From small beginnings 15 years ago, Christian Surfers have continued to take the opportunities God has opened up and we now find ourselves playing key roles and having strong relationships in one of Europe’s biggest surfing events.
Jesus Surf Classic – this event has a significant year as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the contest having grown from 20 to 115 surfers. This includes many of the top surfers in the UK, with the ages ranging from 8 years old to surfers in their forties. Many of the surfers know who we are and know that we are there to put on a professionally run contest and an event that is aimed at serving them.
One encouraging story that came out of this year was from a competitor’s father. His son was keen to enter the contest after hearing positive reports from his friends but he was unsure about coming to an event called the ‘Jesus’ and run by a bunch of Christians. In the end, the son came along with his father, had an amazing time, and has become a great advocate for the contest. This is what the father posted on Facebook. “Massive shout out to the team who put on the Jesus Surf Classic. This year was the 25th ‘Jesus’, and it’s easy to see why it’s been so successful all these years! It doesn’t matter if you’re not religious, you’ll be welcomed by the CS team to what is undoubtedly the best UK surf contest on the calendar! It was my 3rd time visiting the event but first time competing at it…. and stoked to watch my son make his way to semi-finals of the Open, and all the way to the finals of the U18! Thank you Phil and your team! Can’t wait for next year’s event.”
Promoting the work of CSUK
We have spent time this year focusing on promoting the work of Christian Surfers, particularly through online media including designing and building the new CSUK website. We now have a fresh-looking website that we can effectively tell the world what we are about and keep people informed with our activities. We have also spent time producing a few films promoting the vision of Christian Surfers.
We have found social media to been a key tool in promoting the work of CSUK, so I have focused much time on keeping our Facebook and Instagram pages fresh and up to date to keep people engaged in the work we do.
One key new partnership this year has been Surfers Against Sewage. We joined their 250 club which means CS financially supports them and are official partners. This has been a key part in our drive to look at the environmental impact of the work of Christian Surfers.
Another key partnership has been working with the UK Pro Surf Tour. It is a partnership that has been going for a number of years and has involved CS supporting the Tour in any way we can. We have built up many friendships with surfers, parents of competitors and people in the surf industry. Through spending time with these people and serving them we have broken down any negative misconceptions about Christianity and built and bridge into that community.
We continue to have doors opened to us and opportunities presented to us to engage in the surf community. Through simply getting alongside surfers and serving the surf community many surfers who do not have a faith have felt comfortable enough to open up and take about life and their experiences of Christianity and faith.
It feels amazing that Christian Surfers is so welcomed by so many surfers and surfing organisations and we are privileged to have an open door to share our faith with a great bunch of people.