Exeter Chiefs hit the beach at Exmouth

There’s a very special event taking place on Exmouth beach on Friday, July 13.

The 45-man Exeter Chiefs squad will be being put through their paces by David Tidball and Ashley Jones, together with the Exmouth Beach Rescue Club volunteers.

The day has been organised by Tidball and his team in conjunction with the Chiefs new fitness coach Mark Twiggs and his team of coaches at the Premiership club.

Twiggs was taught Tidball to Stand-Up-Paddlesurf (SUP) and during the coaching process the pair discussed common interests of physical skills and conditioning.

Tidball says: “I pointed out that the skills we use in lifeguard training encompass core and aerobic fitness. The Chiefs have developed their fitness skills from tried and tested methods, mainly what Mark has learnt as a Royal Marine PTI at Lympstone.

The idea is to remove the players from what is considered a traditional comfort zone and stretch them in a different way. Mark had experienced a taste what I could offer as a coach and our encounters clearly lit an idea in his head. A year or more later he asked me to put my theories to the test. I was honoured to be asked and am looking forward to working with the squad.”

Twiggs says: “Tids (Tidball) is inspirational and as enthusiastic as a person as he is as a coach. His knowledge is second to none in his field, if he’s good enough to lifeguard the Olympics then he’s good enough for the Exeter Chiefs! I am confident the programmes we’ve designed together will benefit the players and as part of their pre- season training, will benefit the team in the coming Premiership season.”

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Amongst the Exmouth Beach rescue unit who will also be involved are Ashley Jones who holds a degree in sport science and is a former national swimming champion, Tom Merson, currently knocking on the door of National Squad selection for his 10k runs, as well as record holder for the Great West Run, Nigel Snowshall, a qualified lifeguard for some 23 years and a training officer for The Fire Service and Watch Chief at Exmouth station and Keith Hoppins, an engineer, lifeguard and kit man.

Tidball said: “We hope not only to show the Chiefs what a small band of highly dedicated volunteer lifeguards can do, but also to set them a high performance bar, thereby earning their respect, whilst challenging them physically and mentally. We hope to do this whilst remaining within well defined safety boundaries. We train to do this every Sunday and whenever we lifeguard the World and London triathlons, so we know we can do it for a group - even one as heavy as the Chiefs.”

He continued: “Our only enemy is the weather, so we made a foul weather plan to avoid cancellation within what is a very strict pre-season timetable for the Chiefs.”

Spectators will be made very welcome and all the action takes place at the Beach Rescue HQ by Foxholes car park. Teas and coffees will be available for the princely sum of a small donation and, weather permitting, there may even be a barbecue.