Alan Stokes is one of the UK’s best-known surfers, with a career spanning over 20 years and three British titles under his belt. Obviously, we were delighted at the prospect of working with him to design a surfboard, and then getting to see him put it through its paces, when we were approached about a collaborative film project with him last year. Forest to Ocean was a film project generously supported by coffee company Minor Figures, who released the film on their website at the end of November and then gave away 100% of the profits from website sales through the month of December, to Surfers Against Sewage.
Forest to Ocean - Alan Stokes x Otter Surfboards
“Climate change is happening whether we like it or not, but we can do something about it. To highlight the importance of sustainability and marine conservation, we’ve partnered with Bullfrog Studios, pro-surfer Alan Stokes, Otter Surfboards & FORM Surfboards to raise awareness for the environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).” – Minor Figures
Alan visited us several times at the workshop to collaborate on the design of his board with us – a hollow wooden version of his favourite FORM 5’6” ADPT twin fin – and to watch how we make our surfboards. It’s the smallest surfboard that we’ve made to date, not only in terms of its length but also its overall volume and weight, and because it’s a high performance small wave board the compound curves at the nose gave us a nice challenge to think about. We were delighted with the results, and excited to see Alan surfing it.
His first go out on the board, in overhead waves at his local Fistral Beach, was in front of cameras – Jack Flynn and the team from Bullfrog Media and Alan’s long-time in-water videographer Anthony Butler. As expected, he adapted to the characteristics of the hollow wooden board immediately, tucking into barrel sections and throwing it into arcing grab-rail cut-backs.
“I like a board that has its own kind of life, its own agenda on a wave, that finds its own way. You’re just kind of letting this craft fits where it wants to on a wave, dictating where it wants to go and you fit around that and you enjoy that.” – Alan Stokes
Alongside Alan’s surfing, the film explores the importance of sustainability and local communities through the lens of the climate crisis, with Alan and James sharing their thoughts and their vision for the future of surfing and surfboard construction.
The plan is for the surfboard to be given away soon in an initiative to further benefit Surfers Against Sewage and support their fantastic work. We’ll let you all know as soon as that happens!