Birthday Brothers: Joe and Mat’s Wooden Surfboard Workshop Experience

23 . 06 . 18

Last week, Joe and Mat joined us for our June wooden surfboard workshop week. They’re identical twin brothers, and back in January they had a big birthday that they have now just celebrated with us by spending a week together making a pair of surfboards.

Mat’s friend Steve made a surfboard with us last March which planted the seed, and as their birthday was approaching Mat and Joe starting talking… With Joe living in Gloucestershire and Mat living in Devon they don’t get to spend quite as much time together as they used to, and they managed to talk each other into coming on a workshop course together. Justifying a week away from family and work can be tricky, but if your twin brother has clubbed together with other family and friends to send you away to make your own wooden surfboard (and vice-versa) then, well, you can’t not!

Both brothers opted for the same wood lay-up on their boards, completely by coincidence – cedar with a single pale poplar stringer sandwiched between thin strips of reclaimed teak. Joe made a 7’4” Island Hopper and Mat a 7’2” Barque, and after their first surf together it’s likely that these boards will be riding waves around the southwest. Mat works in Plymouth, which means that in the summer months he’ll be able to catch some dawn waves at Bantham or Challaborough before heading into work, whilst for Joe who lives in Gloucestershire and works a an oceanographer in Scotland, his new surfboard can be used as an excuse for more frequent visits to Devon and Cornwall in search of waves.

We’ve had lots of workshoppers who have been celebrating a “big” birthday by making their own wooden surfboard with us, and we’ve had a few father and son or husband and wife workshoppers, but never siblings – and identical twins at that. It was a real pleasure having Joe and Mat with us for the week; we’re looking forward to seeing them when they collect their surfboards in a few weeks time after they’ve been glassed, and hopefully again at our Annual Gathering of Makers in September. We love the example that they’ve set of giving each other the same experience as a gift so that they can enhance it by doing it together, and getting to spend more time with each other to catch up than they’ve had opportunity for in many years. More than a wooden surfboard as a gift to remember their birthdays by, they gave each other the gift of their time and a shared memory.


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