Our Team

This is our team.

We wouldn’t be where we are, doing what we do, without them.

Forever grateful for each and every one of them!

Otter Surfboards Team Photo James Otter

James Otter

It's his name above the door. Otter Surfboards has evolved from James' desire to marry a passion for wood as a material with his passion for surfing in a search for a surfboard with a minimal environmental impact. With a background in designing and making award-winning furniture and building traditional timber framed structures, James turned his skills to crafting wooden surfboards and now building those, alongside running our workshops, has become his focus. James lives on the cliffs above the sea allowing him to check the waves on his way into the workshop each morning…sometimes arriving a little late with wet hair.

Otter Surfboards Team Photo Buddy cropped

Buddy Otter

Buddy supervises everything in the workshop from his sunny spot in the corner, and provides us with a good excuse to get some fresh air a few times a day when we take him for a run around the field.

Loves most things beginning with 'B' - beaches, balls, biscuits, beds, bananas, etc.

Otter Surfboards Team Photo Ally Bernstone

Ally Bernstone

Ally is James' best friend from childhood and when he moved to Cornwall in 2017, he settled into life in the workshop as though he'd been here since the start. He learned the ropes quickly and now helps with every aspect of the business, bringing his unique warmth and joy to the workshop each day.

Ally is a helping pair of hands throughout our surfboard workshops and runs some of our Saturday workshops solo. If you join us, he'll likely be the one to make your first cup of tea each morning and will be at hand to guide some of your making too.

Otter Surfboards Team Photo Elizabeth Otter

Liz Otter

Liz is James' better half. She's been the person he has leant on since the beginning, and her support, love and kindness emanates through the workshop and team.

Over the years, she has fulfilled many roles, from encouraging James to run the first ever workshop to managing the office, scheduling and admin. She now spends her time looking after little William and studying her masters in Art Therapy, but makes sure to pop into the workshop regularly to keep everything running smoothly and to share her positive energy with us all.

Otter Surfboards Team Photo Chris Wotton

Chris Wootton

Chris originally came to us in 2012 on work placement from university where he studied contemporary crafts, and we've not let him leave since. He has run our handplane and bellyboard workshops for the past few years and joins us in the workshop for a couple of days each week to help us turn raw planks of timber into the constituent parts for our surfboards.

Chris works hard and surfs a lot in between, so is right at home here, and is the person in the workshop to ask if you're curious about what the surf's doing on the south coast.

Otter Surfboards Team Photo Trudy Otter

Trudy Otter

AKA Mum. With a history of running many small businesses, including an accountancy and bookkeeping firm with Andrew (AKA Dad), Trudy offers invaluable business support and advice as well as joining us for one day each week to keep on top of the figures for us in the office. Her love, support and, maybe most importantly, belief in Otter Surfboards is irreplaceable and none of us would be here if it wasn't for her.

When she's not with us, she loves nothing more than walking the coast path and spending calm mornings kayaking the Fal estuary.

Otter Surfboards Team Photo Andrew Otter

Andrew Otter

AKA Dad. Having run several businesses over the years, Andrew knows a thing or two about navigating the changing seas of business ownership. He's always there to depend on for advice and guidance and has run our payroll since the beginning.

When he's not with us, he'll be walking the coast path with Mum and their dogs, or plying the waters near their home on the wooden paddleboard he made with James in 2017.

Mat Arney Portrait

Mat Arney

Mat is a photographer and writer, whose inspiring work you'll see throughout our website. He helped James establish the brand aesthetic from 2012 to 2020 and built up our depth of imagery and stories over that period. He now runs his own content creation company, just up the road in St Agnes.

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