Chris and Rikke drove from Denmark to make their own surfboards with us last week. They took their time and made a road trip out of it, spending some time in the Champagne region learning about the craftsmanship that goes into the areas famous product, before arriving in Cornwall. Rikke is an industrial designer who is fascinated by process and seeking to balance the disciplines of designing and making, and Chris is a business consultant with a love of woodworking who was eager to spend a week creating something tangible with his hands. Building and shaping their own wooden surfboards came naturally to both of them and the surfboards that they signed off on Friday evening, different models but in matching timber lay-ups, were beautiful; Rikke had made herself a 7’2” Islet (a scaled down version of our popular 7’4” Island Hopper), and Chris an 8’0” Pieces of Eight.
“I had been on a work placement in Hong Kong, designing snowboard bindings. We were looking at taking a holiday and I realised that a workshop course was the same price as a month’s rent in Hong Kong, but that making my own surfboard would be a much more rewarding experience than staying on an extra month in the city.”
It was clear from spending the week getting to know Chris and Rikke that they were experience seekers with an affinity for craft. The Danes have a reputation as a design savvy nation, and Chris and Rikke reinforced that stereotype in the most wonderful ways. Living in Copenhagen they regularly do the five-hour drive to Klitmøller where they surf or kite-surf, and we’re excited to hear stories of the North Sea waves that they’ll be catching on their new wooden surfboards this autumn.
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
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.