The North Devon coast is a popular area for water sports, boasting a dramatic coastline, a range of magnificent beaches, and uninterrupted wave patterns from across the Atlantic. In 2009, it was reported that water sports were worth £80 million to the North Devon economy, yet there is there is no focus or centre of excellence for water sports in the area to encourage and support wider participation amongst both visitors and the local community. Ilfracombe Water sports centre is a response to this gap and opportunity, to the growth plans of the area’s water sports clubs, and to the regeneration needs of Ilfracombe.
The Watersports Centre will create a new destination attraction to develop and update the marine leisure and tourism sector offering in the area. The prominent waterfront site is part of a wider regeneration programme within the town, focused on the harbour, which is Ilfracombe’s most popular tourist attraction (CACI Research, 2010), and will form the centre of a sporting and leisure hub, planned to help kick-start new investment in the town.