GB Surfing Progression Squad Australia Training Camp Review

The GB Surfing Progression Squad recently returned from a four-week training camp in Coolangatta on the Australian Gold Coast.

The trip was the third international camp the athletes have attended since being selected for the Pro Squad, meaning they have received just over 40 days of coaching time on good quality waves since November last year.

The overall purpose of any GB camp is to give the team access to good quality waves, but the decision to host the first camp of 2024 in Coolangatta can be broken down into for key aims.


  • Good quality and consistent waves

Coolangatta provided the team with consistently rippable waves meaning they got to surf multiple times a day, every day, allowing for high repetition.

The camp was broken down into Training Blocks with a mixture of long training days and shorter coaching days.

Long days typically started with the team in the water by 4:45am until just after 6am. This would be followed by breakfast before a second session at 10am until noon. There would then be a break to escape the midday sun and the worst of the wind, and a chance for the guys to nap, rest and recover before an afternoon session between 3-5pm. Having our soft tissue specialist, Mike Pellegrino, out with us for the final two weeks played a huge part in helping the team during this time by ensuring they recovered and prepared properly, and any niggles were quickly dealt with.

Coaching sessions were typically shorter, with just two surfs a day to manage fatigue and maximise learning.


  • Increased ability of other surfers in the water

Coolangatta is a hub of world class surfing equipment, and we used the opportunity to pick up JS Industries surfboards for the squad. It is no coincidence JS and many other high performance surf brands base themselves on the Gold Coast, with the location attracting some of the best surfers in the world and also producing a high level of everyday casual surfer.

Competition for waves and being surrounded by high level surfers took the team out of their comfort zone and made them focus the whole time they were in the water. This helped to grow resilience and raised the bar of what is expected, and what is needed if we are to win Olympic medals.


  • Access to additional experienced coaching

Our Performance Coach, Luke Dillon ran the coaching element of the camp, supported by Team Manager, Gwen Spurlock, who looked after everything operational.

We were also delighted to welcome Mick Cain to the team during the camp. Mick is a world class coach who has worked with some of the best surfers in the world and was previously part of the high-performance centre out on the Gold Coast.

Mick’s coaching philosophy focuses on raising a surfer’s base level. By making a surfer more consistent, it means even a poor wave will produce a respectable score. He worked with the team on their wave usage, technique and equipment. On the equipment side, his knowledge and experience helped the team maximise their new JS boards, with team members experimenting with different setups and fins which added to their improved performance.

The whole experience of having Mick on the camp was something new for the squad and a great opportunity for them to get his insight.

Having Mick around camp was also invaluable to Luke, who as a young coach was able to pick his brain and see first-hand what he picks up on and how he interacts with the surfers.


  • Likely location of the Olympic surfing event in 2032

Our overarching ambition is to have British athletes capable of medalling at the Brisbane Olympics in 2032 and beyond. We have got a long way to go before then, but the work is already well under way. This includes getting early knowledge of the possible venue, so we surfed DBah, Tugun and Snapper Rocks.

The team accommodation was under a kilometre from the main beach in Coolangatta, which meant we were living and breathing the whole environment, which after a month was beginning to feel like home. Small gains like this will benefit the team as we build over the coming years and do all the preparation possible to give ourselves the best possible chance of success.


Team Manager, Gwen Spurlock, said: “A big part of what we are doing revolves around giving the team more time in the water on better quality waves. Four weeks on the Gold Coast might sound glamourous but apart from the occasional rest day, it included very early mornings and early nights, and huge amounts of concentration, resilience and determination.

“Collangatta is a hub of world class surfing, and as a probable venue for the 2032 Olympics, it was a valuable experience to base ourselves there and familiarise ourselves with the town, people and surf. This, the consistency of the waves and the expert insight and coaching from one of the world’s best in Mick Cain, provided the team with the opportunity to develop in all areas of elite competitive surfing and gave them an insight into what will be required if they are to become an Olympian.”