Andrew Otter’s Secret Sixtieth Stand-Up Paddleboard17 . 11 . 18
At the end of last year, James’ dad Andrew turned sixty. We’d been developing, slowly but surely, our range of flat-water exploration stand-up paddleboards ready for release this summer, and James’ mum wanted to surprise her husband with a special gift; sending him on a surprise stand-up paddleboard workshop course with his son was the perfect present. Andrew started paddleboarding when he and Trudy first moved to Cornwall and lived in the waterfront village of Flushing, the other side of the estuary from Falmouth, and together they explored the creeks and inlets of the Carrick Roads on the south coast. James and his mum therefore hatched a plan that would see James make his Dad a bespoke wooden paddle to present to him on his birthday, as the “ticket” for the workshop week that Trudy was sending him on. They surprised him at a family dinner, and just a week later Andrew was in the workshop here assembling the framework for his 10’6” paddleboard applying clamps to rail strips.
“It was so good to work with James - Father and son time is very precious. I really enjoyed working with the wood, especially when we got on to using the planes, but it was hard work on such a large board. The developments were all incremental, but it was amazing then to look at the finished board at the end of the week and know that we made it.”
Andrew’s workshop course ran over the course of nine days, with one day off in the middle. It was two days longer than the stand-up paddleboard courses that we now offer; partly because James was using his Dad’s course as a test case to fine-tune the course itinerary, and partly because they lost a lot of time to laughter. Father and son time is often all too fleeting when each have various commitments, and they wanted to enjoy their shared time so were in no rush to reach the end of the process.
"It was so heart-warming having Dad in the workshop with me. Often as we grow up we turn to our fathers to teach us and explain all types of practical tasks, be it cutting the grass (and inevitably fixing the mower), putting up shelves, or kicking a football around the garden, so it was wonderful to be able to give a little back by teaching Dad how to make a board in a space where we both felt completely at home. Definitely one of my personal highlights since starting the company back in 2010."
Andrew’s 10’6” Discovery was laminated at the same time as the first 11’6” Adventure that we made, so after they were collected and brought back to the workshop to have the final hardware fitted James and his Dad made plans for getting their boards on the water for a first paddle together. The next day, a lovely summer Saturday, they headed down to the south coast to Loe Beach on the Carrick Roads, the network of creeks on the Fal river estuary (it’s actually a drowned river valley) that are perfect for paddling. The rest of the family joined them and they paddled around to the Pandora Inn, a beautiful historic thatched pub on the waterfront.
“I was amazed at how buoyant the board felt under my feet, compared to other SUPs I’ve paddled. It glided very easily through the water and felt very stable once I was standing up on the board. It’s a really stunningly beautiful board to look down upon whilst paddling, too!”