I am Carl Russell, the founder and owner of SUB6 Life: online surf shop, surf & SUP school and lifeguard training courses. SUB6 Life gets its name from where it is based: North Coast of Northern Ireland, which is a unique area from Magilligan Point to Cushendun. The longitudinal coordinates on the map of this location is minus 6; which is where the name SUB6 came to life.
My passion for water began when I was 10 years old. There was a retro, twin-fin surfboard of my dad’s in our garage. When I asked dad what it was, he said it was a surfboard from a friend and that he would take me to the North Coast one day to try it out. I knew from that point that this sport would be something I loved, even just from looking at the board.
My first ever surf was with dad on a huge swell board, which felt like a boat. Before he had even managed to get in the water, I was cruising in on a 1ft white water wave. At that time, we were complete amateurs with regards to checking the conditions and specifics of swell charts; it was literally a case of pack up the car with the boards and let’s go on an adventure.
A good few years (and many, many waves) later, I decided to take my passion for surfing to the next level and spent 15 years successfully building an award-winning surf school in Portrush. Alongside the surf school, I started SUB6 as a business to train lifeguards and run SUP (stand up paddleboard) lessons. After a few years, I felt it was the appropriate time to launch SUB6 as something standalone and to include its own surf school and online store.
Surf and SUP School
Making the addition of surf school to the SUB6 brand was not a difficult decision. Having run a highly successful surf school previously, it was a very easy transition to add the surf school element to SUB6, which already existed as lifeguard training, SUP school and online store.
Our instructor team is the highest qualified team on the North Coast, boasting surf coaches trained level 1 – level 3 under the Academy of Surf Instructors (ASI, a world recognised and leading body for surf and SUP instructors). Our team is enthusiastic and professional and we all share a love of surfing.
In our surf school, we aim to run smaller groups focusing on coaching, fun and safety. Not only do we teach the basics of surfing to beginners, but we also teach water safety. This ensures that when our students paddle out, they have the best foundation of knowledge possible. Our progression coaching is always taught by highly qualified instructors who have years of experience in surfing as well as coaching. You can often spot members of the SUB6 team ripping up the waves before or after sessions, and the enthusiasm is infectious.
As an added bonus, when you surf with us, you surf on one of the most beautiful beaches in Northern Ireland: Whiterocks. Your surf lesson will have the spectacular backdrop of sand dunes, white cliffs and caves – what could be better?
Our SUP instructors are equally highly qualified, under ASI levels 1 & 2 for enclosed and exposed waters. Our SUP instructors ensure the best possible SUP lessons and adventures, putting safety and fun first. There is certainly more to SUP-ing than it initially seems and getting a lesson with us is the right way to discover all there is to know. Our lessons cover water safety and appropriate conditions for SUP-ing as well as manoeuvres and paddling techniques.
SUP lessons take place in the gorgeous Portballintrae Harbour where the safely enclosed water provides the perfect learning environment. Our SUP adventures take the more experienced SUP-ers along the coastline from Whiterocks Beach to explore the caves, where the water is turquoise and the seaweed purple, mirroring our logo!
We use high quality equipment for our surf and SUP school, including Billabong wetsuits and Roxy and Quiksilver stand up paddleboards and surfboards.
Over the years, I realised it is difficult to find quality, stylish surf wetsuits, clothing and products associated with the sport, finding the best options from searching online rather than in surf stores. Because of this, I decided to start my own online surf store where I could stock the high quality, stylish brands I had been trying to find for myself.
I have focused on the brands: JANGA, BUELL, VISSLA, RVCA, SISSTR, ZONE 3, FCS, CHILLI and DHD.
The brands are new, exciting and different, with brighter wetsuits like Janga and Buell, and sustainable ones with Vissla and Sisstr. We want a change at SUB6, not the same old, black, dull, unsustainable wetsuits.
SUB6 is dedicated to a sustainable future and aims to work mainly with eco-friendly suppliers in order to help protect our planet. As a surfer, I understand the current environmental implications of unsustainable products in the surfing world. SUB6 therefore aims to source brands that use recycled materials to reduce the environmental footprint on the earth.
Alongside stocking surf specific wear and equipment, the SUB6 store also has a range of gear to help with training for the sport. As surfing is now considered an Olympic sport, I realised that athletes, as well as beginners, want to purchase surf hardware and specialised training wear as part of their preparation. There is an emerging market for cross training products, considering the specific conditioning that is part of the sport. Therefore, SUB6 stocks training clothing, such as leggings and sports tops, alongside wetsuits, surfboards and other surf hardware.
We also hold a range of gear suitable for triathlon training and open water swimming including Zone 3 wetsuits. Zone 3 wetsuits are award winning and provide triathletes and open water swimmers with the best flexibility, warmth and comfort available.
SUB6 trains candidates to become lifeguards through the provision of high quality teaching for the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) qualification. A high percentage of those who train with us get positions as RNLI Beach Lifeguards. I believe the quality of our teaching is partly due to having a background as an RNLI Senior Lifeguard myself, which allows training to be specific to the job.
SUB6 incorporates an online surf store, ASI Accredited Surf & Sup School and lifeguard training all under one company.
Our surf school is based at Whiterocks Beach Portrush, Northern Ireland.
Our Sup school runs at Portballintrae Harbour, Portballintrae, North Coast, Northern Ireland.
Surf, Shop or train with SUB6.
Book a place at the SUB6 surf school here. Visit the Surf Store now.
Find out more about SUB6 here.
Interested in having your business featured on Trek NI? Contact us to find out how.