BEng Extreme Sports Engineering

  • extreme sport engineering
  • extreme sport engineering
  • extreme sport engineering

There have been huge increases in the number of people that participate in sports such as surfing, kitesurfing, skating and snowboarding. 

This course provides the first degree programme of its kind in the UK specialising in the Engineering, Development and Optimisation of equipment for the Extreme Sports Industry.

Advances in equipment, materials and manufacturing techniques mean that sports that were seen as dangerous or ‘extreme’ until relatively recently are now becoming more main stream.

This industry has significant opportunities for graduates with in depth knowledge of the science and manufacturing behind these sports.


Key Facts

UCAS Code: H340
Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
3 Years

School of Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics
Contact Name:
Kelvin Lake
Contact Email:
Language Choice

Visit Days

Find Out More

Traditional engineering topics such as materials, manufacturing, stress analysis and fluid flow are brought into the 21st century and applied to this exciting industry

The School has significant expertise with respect to mechanical engineering topics, this course simply applies this expertise to this industry in areas such as the following;

  • Manufacturing: Composites (mountain bikes, surfboards, wakeboards etc), plastics, wood, joining techniques (fixings for bindings, welding of tubes on frames, adhesives), fabrics (Kites etc), metals (skateboard trucks etc) and bearings.
  • Stress analysis: Flex of boards (a rider on a skateboard, surfboard or snowboard), stress concentrations (fixing points for bindings/kite lines), fatigue, thin cylinder theory (stress in bladders on kites) and Finite Element Analysis.
  • Fluid flow (over boards, past kites/parachutes): CFD, wind tunnel testing and coupling of fluids (water and air)
  • Vibrations/damping (of boards)
  • Dynamics/suspension (mountain bikes): Dynamic/impact loading
  • Heat transfer (loss of heat through a wetsuit)
  • Non destructive testing: Defects in composites
  • Quality

In addition, further expertise from elsewhere in the faculty will be drawn upon in the following areas;

  • Entrepreneurship (starting a business)
  • Marketing and self promotion
  • Running a small business
  • Product liability
  • Health and safety (composites manufacture)
  • Patents and IP

Level 4

  • Engineering Science 1
  • Engineering Science 2
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering Design
  • Materials and intro to manufacturing
  • Engineering Applications and Study Skills

 Level 5

  •  Group Project
  • Thermofluid Mechanics 1
  • Management and  sustainability
  • CAE and Stress Analysis
  • Manufacturing Design and technology
  • Dynamics
  • Extreme Sports Engineering

 Level 6

  • Major Project
  • Advanced Stress Analysis and FEA
  • Advanced Computational Methods
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Materials and Manufacturing for Niche Markets

Swansea is ideally suited to provide engineers to this industry as water sports manufacturers tend to locate themselves close to the coast (Manley, June 2007) as demonstrated by the location of many manufactures in the local vicinity due to ease of testing and the desire of people to be close to the coast so that they can participate in this industry.

Swansea has access to the following:

  • World class mountain biking at Afan Forest and Cwmcarn
  • Surfing
  • Windsurfing 
  • Kitesurfing along the South Wales coast
  • Snowboarding on dry ski slopes (and occasionally in the Breacon Beacons!)
  • Wakeboarding behind a boat at Oxwich Bay 
  • Sea and white water Kayaking
  • Skateboard parks
  • Climbing walls

 You can participate in your passion whilst you study and can test the products that you design and build locally.

The course is assessed by a mixture of coursework, phase tests, presentations, vivas and examinations.

112 points (previously 280) from numerate or technical A Level subjects, to include Maths or Physics at grade B or above. Maths GCSE at grade C is also required. Relevant experience may be considered.

Our offers are not solely based on academic results. We take your skills, achievements and life experience into consideration. In such cases, they must provide evidence of capacity to pursue the course successfully. We like to give such applicants every opportunity to show that they have the motivation and ability to succeed in their chosen programme.

Also available as a four year programme (including foundation year)

The extreme sports industry is a significant and growing employer.  In 2005 sport-related employment was estimated at 434,000, accounting for 1.8% of all employment in England and grew 19% over the previous five years (Sheffield Hallam University, 2007). 

This industry consists of retail, provision and marketing, however it also contains a sophisticated manufacturing element (Rotherham, Egan, & Egan, 2005).­ 

Sport related manufacturing increased in England by 24%, over the 2005-2008 period, and in 2008, employed 11,500 people (Sport industry research centre, August 2010).   

In 2005 the UK exported £7.6m-worth of watersports equipment (Manley, June 2007). The UK surf industry reported sales of £200 million in 2007, with the manufacturing element of the surfing element in Cornwall estimated at £62 million/year (The independent, 2004).   

As with other manufacturing in the UK, manufacturers can no longer compete with low-cost producers, hence the bias in exports is towards well engineered products (Manley, June 2007). 

The use of materials such as composites continue to grow in the leisure industry and are regularly used for the manufacture of surfboards, wakeboards and skateboards etc. 

Specific opportunities for growth have been identified in leisure goods such as snowboards by the department of trade and industry (Department of trade and industry, 2001).  This has led to significant growth of composite manufacturers that specialise in these areas. 

The proportion of composite manufacturers in Wales focussing on sport and leisure now exceeds both the aerospace and the automotive industries (Sienz, 2009).

The UK had 430 producers of sports equipment in 2006.  The majority of these producers were small with an average turnover of £544,000..

Only 25 of the manufacturers achieving £5m or more in annual sales (Manley, June 2007).  Of these producers, 260 had fewer than five employees, with many of these expected to be sole traders. 

As such, whilst some students on this course will find employment with relatively large manufactures, many of them will be expected to start their own business and will be given the skills to do so in modules such as entrepreneurship.

This programme has been revalidated to meet the needs of this rapidly changing sector. It is intended that accreditation will be sought during the next academic year. This will be subject to an external review process. Please check our website for up-to-date details.


Active Marketing Group. (2007). The Action Sports Market. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from
Department of trade and industry. (2001). UK Polymner composites sector: Foresight study and competitive analysis. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from ‎ 
Manley, J. (June 2007). Market Report 2007 Sports Equipment. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from Sports Equipment Design Keynote 2007.pdf:
Rotherham, I., Egan, D., & Egan, H. (2005). A Review of the Economic Value of Countryside Recreation and Sports. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from
Sheffield Hallam University. (2007). The economic importance of sport in England 1985-2005. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from
Sienz, H. (2009). Composite in Wales. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from P3 Composites in Wales 070709.pdf:
Sport industry research centre. (August 2010). Economic Value of Sport in England 1985-2008. Retrieved from ecomonic-value-of-sport-in-england-1-.pdf:
The independent. (2004, July 27th). Catching the wave. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from
Ward, R. (Unknown). An Examination of the United Kingdom Surfing Market: With proposed new surfing products for the UK market. Retrieved December 23rd, 2013, from