Jonny, Andy and Jon arrived on the Monday morning of this year's April workshop as total strangers to one another. Over the course of their week with us each of them made their own wooden surfboard and, much to our delight, made new friends. It's what we always hope will happen, and it frequently does. The three of them made plans to all collect their surfboards on the same day at the end of June, on the weekend of our Boards, Bangers and Beer open workshop event, have a few beers with us on the Friday evening, and then head down the coast to splash their surfboards for the first time and catch some waves together on Saturday. Jonny drove up from West Sussex, Jon headed down the coast from his new home in North Devon, and Andy made the short hop up from West Penwith; over the course of the workshop week Andy had sung the praises of his local surf spots around Sennen and Gwenvor so much that they headed down to Cornwall's far west for that first surf, with Jonny's partner Ainslie kindly taking some photos to share with us. We're always keen to see and hear the stories of these surfboards after they've left our workshop, so sent each of them an e-mail asking them to tell us about that first special surf session.
"Just to let you know, the 3 boards all met the water at the same time - we went for a maiden surf on Sunday morning - I had a great surf given the less than perfect conditions, scored two long rights - so already super keen to get out again soon. Thanks so much." - Andy
"I had an absolute blast surfing with Jon and Andy, the waves weren't huge but great fun and there was no way one of us was missing taking out the boards on their maiden voyage. It really was special to be sharing that experience all together, from meeting each other, spending the week building the boards, making really good friends to then all 3 of us heading out into the water for the 1st time. That kind of bonding is hard to ignore I think. The boards were fantastic, for me it had been a while since I last surfed, so was great to be able to build that confidence back in the water, and sharing a wave with Jon and Andy was fun too." - Jonny
"Oh man, what can I say! I love the board, it's nothing like I've surfed before; so much glide and flow to it. I'm so pleased with it and have been surfing it loads. It was just such an amazing week down with you guys for the workshop, and I never thought I would make such good friends through it - all friends for life I hope!! it was such an experience and one that I'll never forget. With regards to the actual workshop itself I really think you have mastered it. Don't change a thing!!!" - Jon
On Friday June 23rd we opened up the doors of our workshop, and of the Eco Park's barn opposite us, and were joined by an amazing crowd of people for our annual Boards, Bangers and Beers open workshop evening. With the help of our good friend Alex of As One Talks, this years event was the biggest and best yet and we were joined by special guests Sam Bleakley and Chris Hines who spoke in front of a capacity crowd, with every seat taken and people stood several rows deep at the back and sides. Sam and Chris shared their positive and powerful stories about how they have both built productive and impactful lives with surfing as a common and guiding influence. For those of you who were able to make it along, thank you so much for being a part of it and we hope that you can re-live some fond memories of the evening through the following photos and talk. For those of you who couldn't join us in person, we hope that the following will give you a taste of what went on.
Unfortunately, Sam's talk was beset by technical issues with microphone interference and so the quality of the audio wasn't good enough to be published. You can hear him talk at various upcoming events with our friends at Finisterre and elsewhere though, and we thoroughly recommend that should the opportunity arise to hear Sam or Chris present a talk in the future, you take it!
The heat wave had to end at some point, but it segued nicely into a dry (if a little cooler) evening for Boards, Bangers and Beers.
West Penwith surfers Sam Bleakley and Andy Harper admiring the poplar Coaster that Andy shaped with us earlier this year.
It was lovely looking out across the crowd and spotting so many friends and former workshoppers.
We were lucky enough to have the fantastic Ben Quinn of Woodfired Canteen manning the grills for us. He had a healthy queue for hotdogs most of the evening before totally selling out! Ben is in high demand as a chef, and we're so grateful to him for coming to cook at our events in person.
Jon, Andy and Jonny organised collecting their surfboards from our April workshop at Boards, Bangers and Beers, and it was so nice to see them hanging out, chatting and laughing over a few beers. They spent most of the weekend together and all went for a few surfs with each other, including the first surfs on their new boards. They sum up what is so special about our workshoppers.
Friends, families, kids and dogs; it was humbling to see so many people join us for our open workshop evening, with both buildings full and people spilling out into the yard!
Chris Hines is engaging on and off stage - here chatting in front of the board rack.
Writer Dan Crockett and his wife Amy with guest speaker Sam Bleakley.
Some southwest creative heavywieghts, including illustrator Nathan Fletcher, Jen Shipley (Cut by Beam), Hannah and Justin of Solid Wool, and Mike Coulter (Do Side Projects Creative Director). It was so nice seeing so many incredible and inspirational makers and creators from our corner of the country getting together.
James and Pete from Surfer's Against Sewage catching up.
Keijo and Tim, who had just finished making their own wooden surfboards on a workshop week that evening, with James and our friend Lawrence from Finisterre.
Tim and Sean (the commercial interiors designer responsible for both Finisterre and Sea Salt's store interiors) sharing beer and wooden surfboard stories.
Alex, the ball of energy and enthusiasm behind As One, takes to the stage in a packed room to introduce Sam Bleakley and Chris Hines' talks.
Sam is a man who wears many hats, and the story of his life built around surfing is an riveting one.
Sam was joined on stage during his Q&A by one of the youngest members of the audience.
Chris Hines: when he talks, we listen. Intelligent, articulate, and with a fierce sense of right and wrong, he has been on a lifelong difference to make a difference and we believe he does through delivering inspirational talks and asking tough questions.
"I know that you can make a difference; challenging authority is good, and push it as hard as you can because we've only got one life. Damn well make it count."
As One host monthly talks uncovering the unheard stories behind individuals who can inspire change, collaboration, and innovation. Check them out here.
The week of June 19th-23rd was the ideal time to be in Cornwall as the southwest basked in a heatwave that included the hottest June day since 1976, and there was a lovely pulse of swell at the start of the week. Keijo, Rich and Tim spent this week in Cornwall, and although they were in the workshop for a lot of the time gluing, planing and sanding the wooden surfboards that they were making, there was a good four hours usable daylight on either side of the working day which meant that they were still able to enjoy the sunshine and the waves.
Keijo travelled from Helsinki for the week and shaped a 7’2” version of our popular all-round Island Hopper shape. We’ve had a few workshoppers ask to make this board now so we may well give it a name and add it to the range; it’s really a hybrid of the Island Hopper and the Jetty and is a great egg-style all-rounder that paddles into waves easily and is still really maneuverable.
Rich is the first workshopper to make a 6’8” Riser, and had our original Riser that Chris made on hand for reference. This semi-gun is a serious piece of surfboard and we’re looking forward to getting updates from Rich over the coming months and years as he takes his new board on some surf trips to hear about the waves he’s caught on it. Rich was pointed in our direction by his friend Tim who made a board with us back in April (we’ll be sharing his story soon); they share a love of surfing and met whist recovering having been injured in the line of duty serving in the military. Both Tim and Rich are now both involved in charities that support injured servicemen. On the Friday of his workshop week Rich celebrated the third anniversary of undergoing successful brain surgery. We are honoured that he chose to celebrate by making himself a wooden surfboard with us.
On the third set of trestles was Tim who joined us from London to make himself a 6’10” Jetty. Tim’s formative surfing years were spent on family holidays to the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides, and these coastlines are still his preferred destinations when escaping the big smoke. He’s hoping that he can collect his finished surfboard in time to take on a trip to the Isle of Tiree in mid-September, so that his first surf on it can be on a wave that he holds close to his heart. After that though, we’re hoping that we can tempt him down the A303 a little more often to join us for a few waves here in Cornwall.
To find out more about our "Make Your Own" wooden surfboard workshop courses, simply hit the workshops button at the top of this page.