Last weekend, we held our Annual Gathering of Makers. It's a special occasion for us, when we invite all of the makers who have joined us over the past few years to craft their own wooden surfboard back to spend a weekend together surfing, making new friends over shared experiences, enjoying good food and having a few beers. We gather at Dunkirk Farm, where James made his first few wooden surfboards just a mile or so from the site of our current workshop, as guests of our friends Jez and Ange. This year our community of wooden surfboard makers were treated to a morning of offshore waves, a fantastic feast cooked over fire by our friends from Woodfired Canteen, and an evening of very special live music from Jack Bessant and The Cheddar Experiment. Words struggle to do the weekend justice, so we have right here a gallery of photos. To all of the wooden surfboard makers who made it along to join us this year, thank you for coming and we hope you enjoyed yourselves. Thanks also to Woodfired Canteen, Jack and the band for coming together on the night to entertain us, and to Jez, Ange, Si and Vicky for welcoming us back to the farm once again. We only wish every weekend could be an AGM weekend!
On Friday June 23rd we opened up the doors of our workshop, and of the Eco Park's barn opposite us, and were joined by an amazing crowd of people for our annual Boards, Bangers and Beers open workshop evening. With the help of our good friend Alex of As One Talks, this years event was the biggest and best yet and we were joined by special guests Sam Bleakley and Chris Hines who spoke in front of a capacity crowd, with every seat taken and people stood several rows deep at the back and sides. Sam and Chris shared their positive and powerful stories about how they have both built productive and impactful lives with surfing as a common and guiding influence. For those of you who were able to make it along, thank you so much for being a part of it and we hope that you can re-live some fond memories of the evening through the following photos and talk. For those of you who couldn't join us in person, we hope that the following will give you a taste of what went on.
Unfortunately, Sam's talk was beset by technical issues with microphone interference and so the quality of the audio wasn't good enough to be published. You can hear him talk at various upcoming events with our friends at Finisterre and elsewhere though, and we thoroughly recommend that should the opportunity arise to hear Sam or Chris present a talk in the future, you take it!
The heat wave had to end at some point, but it segued nicely into a dry (if a little cooler) evening for Boards, Bangers and Beers.
West Penwith surfers Sam Bleakley and Andy Harper admiring the poplar Coaster that Andy shaped with us earlier this year.
It was lovely looking out across the crowd and spotting so many friends and former workshoppers.
We were lucky enough to have the fantastic Ben Quinn of Woodfired Canteen manning the grills for us. He had a healthy queue for hotdogs most of the evening before totally selling out! Ben is in high demand as a chef, and we're so grateful to him for coming to cook at our events in person.
Jon, Andy and Jonny organised collecting their surfboards from our April workshop at Boards, Bangers and Beers, and it was so nice to see them hanging out, chatting and laughing over a few beers. They spent most of the weekend together and all went for a few surfs with each other, including the first surfs on their new boards. They sum up what is so special about our workshoppers.
Friends, families, kids and dogs; it was humbling to see so many people join us for our open workshop evening, with both buildings full and people spilling out into the yard!
Chris Hines is engaging on and off stage - here chatting in front of the board rack.
Writer Dan Crockett and his wife Amy with guest speaker Sam Bleakley.
Some southwest creative heavywieghts, including illustrator Nathan Fletcher, Jen Shipley (Cut by Beam), Hannah and Justin of Solid Wool, and Mike Coulter (Do Side Projects Creative Director). It was so nice seeing so many incredible and inspirational makers and creators from our corner of the country getting together.
James and Pete from Surfer's Against Sewage catching up.
Keijo and Tim, who had just finished making their own wooden surfboards on a workshop week that evening, with James and our friend Lawrence from Finisterre.
Tim and Sean (the commercial interiors designer responsible for both Finisterre and Sea Salt's store interiors) sharing beer and wooden surfboard stories.
Alex, the ball of energy and enthusiasm behind As One, takes to the stage in a packed room to introduce Sam Bleakley and Chris Hines' talks.
Sam is a man who wears many hats, and the story of his life built around surfing is an riveting one.
Sam was joined on stage during his Q&A by one of the youngest members of the audience.
Chris Hines: when he talks, we listen. Intelligent, articulate, and with a fierce sense of right and wrong, he has been on a lifelong difference to make a difference and we believe he does through delivering inspirational talks and asking tough questions.
"I know that you can make a difference; challenging authority is good, and push it as hard as you can because we've only got one life. Damn well make it count."
As One host monthly talks uncovering the unheard stories behind individuals who can inspire change, collaboration, and innovation. Check them out here.
We’ve been making plans for this year’s Boards, Bangers and Beers event, and would like to invite you all to join us on the evening of Friday June 23rd here at our workshop. This year’s event is all set to be the best yet, with the addition of an evening of talks from two incredible speakers alongside our open workshop (which you’re welcome to have a poke around) and a BBQ and bar. You can claim your free ticket by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
To make it all happen we’re teaming up with our friends at As One and Woodfired Canteen. As One bring people together to connect, refresh and inspire through regular monthly talks and workshops, and it’s with Alex’s help that we’re able to host speakers at this year’s Boards, Bangers and Beers. We’ll be joined by Chris Hines MBE, one of the founders of Surfers Against Sewage and former director of sustainability at the Eden Project, and by professional surfer, author, academic and adventurer Sam Bleakley; two fascinating individuals with great stories who we can’t wait to hear from.
Chris Hines MBE (which he says stands for "moaning bloody environmentalist) was a founding member of Surfers Against Sewage and its first CEO, a special advisor to the Secretary of State for the Environment, The Eden Project's first Director of Sustainability and is, as far as we are aware, the only surfer to have received an honour from the Queen for activities related to surfing. Not only is Chris a pleasure to share the line-up with, but he's also a great authority on sustainability and environmental issues, particularly as they relate to our world of surfing. He pulls no punches, and we are excited to hear his story.
Sam is a surfer who wears many hats; champion longboarder, Cambridge graduate, author, documentary film producer and presenter, and surf travel pioneer are all valid labels that we could use to describe him together or in their own right. Sam’s tick-list of countries surfed is as intriguing and unusual as it is long and he recently received his Ph.D from Falmouth University (for research titled Surfing, Haiti, and a New Wave of Travel Writing), started commentating for the live broadcast at WSL Longboard events, is just completing a new series for TV of his documentaries on emerging surf cultures called Brilliant Corners, and his latest book is a study of mindfulness and surfing. Sam is joining us at Boards, Bangers and Beers to talk about his relationship with surfing and where it has taken him.
The doors to our workshop will be wide open and we’ll have several wooden surfboards on display; we want the evening to be an opportunity for people to stop by, have a look around and ask us any questions about wooden surfboards and what we do here. Our good friends from Woodfired Canteen will be firing up a drumbeque outside and serving up classic hotdogs using sausages from nearby Dunkirk Farm’s herd of Tamworths, and we’ll have a keg of ale from St Agnes’ Driftwood Spars Brewery tapped.
All of this is totally free; we ask that if you do intend to join us that you click through to the As One ticket site (link below) to register for a free ticket, just so that we have an idea of numbers and can order enough bangers and beer. That said though, it’s fine if you just turn up. The bar here at Porthtowan Eco Park will be open too, and we hope that as many of you as possible will join us and make an evening out of it.
In summary: we’re inviting you to join us for an evening of wooden surfboards, hotdogs, beer, and talks from two incredibly interesting surfers, all for free, on Friday June 23rd.