Claire OverendWarren McConnaughieChris Sidwells
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Blog ethics Award Winners

Posted on January 6, 2012 @ 3:28 PM in Adventure

The inaugural Awards in association with Surf Mountain saw 1460 votes cast by the public on’s Facebook Page

The nominees battled it out throughout November and December to win the coveted titles.

We are now pleased to announce that the wait is finally over and without further ado we give you the Award winners.

Drum roll please…

Best Family Activity Provider – Awarded to the activity provider offering the best family experience

Alive Surf School

When asked about the secrets behind the success of Alive Surf School, founder Ricky Martin explained, “Our emphasis has always been on teaching through fun. We are passionate people, about surfing and about the North Coast which is finally being recognised as one of the top surfing coastlines in the world.”

Northern Ireland’s longest running surf school provides lessons throughout the year for all ages from 5 years old, hence it truly caters for all the family.

Alive Surf School

Best Newcomer – Awarded to the best activity provider added to during 2011

Belfast City Bike Tours

This innovative Belfast based tour company has been growing from strength to strength since their launch last summer.  After speaking to founder Jerome O’Loughlin, it is not hard to see how they managed to take the crown.  “Belfast is an incredible city, steeped in culture with a story to tell on virtually every corner. We love being able to share these stories and our tours seem to be going down well which is great. On our low rider style ‘Californian Cruiser’ bikes we can explore parts of the city which are inaccessible on regular bus and taxi tours which hopefully make the Belfast visitor experience a much more memorable one.” 

To find out more about Belfast City Bike Tours check out our blog to find out how the team got on during a recent visit.

Adventure Icon – Awarded to the individual or team from Northern Ireland who achieved something amazing in Northern Ireland’s outdoors

Elaine ‘Shooter’ Alexander 

Elaine Alexander affectionately known as Shooter, who last year successfully circumnavigated Ireland by Kayak in a fundraising challenge for the Share Holiday Village  in Lisnaskea, won over forty percent of all votes in this much coveted category.  Miss Alexander proved she is more than deserving of her NI Adventure Icon status as she described the challenge she undertook, “I knew it was going to be tough but didn’t appreciate how much the trip would take out of me. I shed over a stone and lost count of the number of blisters on my hands during the period I was on the water but it was all worth it for the incredible coastlines and fantastic people I met along the way”

Visit our blog to learn more about Elaine’s epic adventure.

Best New Outdoor Activity Venue / Product – Awarded to the best outdoor activity venue / product opened in 2011

Tollymore National Outdoor Centre 

Tollymore National Outdoor Centre was awarded ‘Best New Outdoor Activity Venue’ for their purpose-built mountain bike skills track in County Down. Launched in the summer of 2011 the 1.5km trail has been specifically designed to enable bikers to develop their personal skills and experience. Upon receiving the award Centre Manager, Trevor Fisher explained, “We are delighted to have won the award and would like to say a 'big thank you' to everyone who voted for us. We look forward to welcoming everyone here in 2012 to try out our mountain bike skills course.” 

Check out our Blog to find out how got on during a recent visit to the skills course

Best Thrillseeking Provider – Awarded to the activity provider offering the best thrill seeking experience

The Jungle NI 

The Jungle NI, based in Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry clinched the ‘Best Thrillseeking Provider’ award.  Whether it’s hurtling down a hill at high speeds in a zorbing ball, dodging the bullets on a paintballing session or tackling Ireland’s only Tree Top Adventure Course the Jungle has plenty to offer when it comes to thrill seeking adventure.  Sarah-Louise Carmichael, from the Jungle NI commented, “We are absolutely delighted to be recognised by the public as the best thrillseeking provider. We were up against some fantastic activity providers who are all doing great things across Northern Ireland so to come out on top is amazing”.

Visit our blog to find out how got on when they experienced one of the Jungle NI’s many thrill seeking activities or check out some of the many activity ideas on offer at the centre that are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.

Jungle NI Zorbing

Best Adventure Website / Publication – Awarded to the best Northern Irish Outdoor Adventure Website / Publication

NI Wild 

A forum dedicated to bringing anyone with an interest in outdoor activities in Northern Ireland together, NI Wild won the ‘Best Adventure Website/Publication’ award.  A truly interactive site, family friendly and free to join there are always plenty of chats and debates happening on all aspects of outdoor life in Northern Ireland.  A spokesperson from NI Wild explained,We want everyone to have a good time and encourage people to use NI-Wild to meet new people and get into the outdoors for some fun.  Being a site that is reliant on public interaction we were thrilled to be voted by the public as the best adventure website”.

Best Outdoor Event – Awarded to the best mass participant challenge event in Northern Ireland’s outdoors in 2011

Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive

In its first year the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive took the coveted prize for ‘Best Outdoor Event in Northern Ireland’ and is fast becoming the most talked about sportive on the Irish cycling calendar.  Beverly Pierson from the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive commented “We had a fantastic event in our first year with over 600 cyclists taking part. We wanted the route to really push cyclists whether they were attempting their first cycle on the 57km route or taking on the 182km Giant Killer option. We are delighted to have won the award and would like to thank everyone who voted, we’re looking forward to welcoming you over the finish line in 2012!”

For more information and to sign up for the 2012 event visit the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive website.  


Giants Causeway Coast Sportive

Nick Stevenson, founder of Surf Mountain extended his congratulations to the award winners stating, “We at Surf Mountain have always prided ourselves on being from Northern Ireland. All our staff are outdoor enthusiasts and so we were delighted to have the opportunity to support fellow adventurers, local events and progressive outdoor providers. All the category winners and indeed nominees should be incredibly proud of their achievements this year.” would like to extend a massive congratulations to everyone who won and a big thank you to all those who took the time to vote.  We are looking forward to an even bigger and better Awards in 2012. Who knows, we may even have a red carpet…


Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

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