Coastal Connections: Hugh’s Wooden Surfboard Workshop Experience

02 . 10 . 20

The bank holiday at the end of August is often the day that kicks off our most popular workshop of the year. It’s normally the week that fills up before the year has even begun, but alas, this year has been a little different, right?!

This August, Hugh joined us on his own, to make a 7’2 Coaster made entirely from poplar, bar a thin strip of dark teak down the centre and whilst this layup is relatively rare for us, it does happen to match my own Coaster, that I use all the time. 

As with most one-on-one workshop week, we both shared personal stories and connected a little sooner than we might on a group course and it soon transpired that we had more in common than our preferred choice of surfboard.

Hugh lives a little further up the coast, not far from the beaches of Polzeath and Harlyn Bay, and feels intrinsically linked to the stretch of coast that he calls home. We spoke about the amazing diversity of the coastline around Cornwall; the rolling wooded hills of the south coast, the dark serpentine of the Lizard Peninsular and the raw, beautifully dramatic granite of the far west.

However, both of us have naturally developed a deeper and more personal relationship with the coastlines where we spend most of our time. For me, having spent the last ten years of my life living in Porthtowan, I have run the cliffs from Gwithian to Perranporth multiple times and have surfed at the beaches in between more times than I can remember.

The intimacy with which you know a stretch of coastline you live on is like no other. The small fisherman’s tracks that give you ocean access at numerous points that you’d otherwise stroll past and the way certain bays may deliver waves when particular wind, tide and swell conditions align are things that are only learned about from time dedicated to being outdoors, exploring.

As surfer’s, we often dream of perfect, uncrowded waves. It is in our nature to seek out hidden corners, to check what is over the next hill, or around the next headland in the hope of discovering somewhere new and exciting to play in the ocean.

With the need for multiple conditions to align, even when you’ve run to the hidden bay at the end of a long footpath a dozen times, you still keep checking it in the hope that, maybe this time, with this swell direction and the bigger tide, that corner of rock and sand might just throw up an inviting fold in the ocean. Just maybe.

We spent most of our tea breaks and lunchtimes reliving the exploration of local stretches of coast, sharing photos of particular spots (the two above are from Hugh’s own explorations) or memorable moments in the ocean just a stones throw from where we live. It was amazing to connect over such a deep enjoyment of the outdoors and a desire to protect what we love for future generations and I can’t wait to hear about the waves that Hugh manages to catch on his new board and the places that it might inspire him to explore.

If you’d like to join us to make your own surfboard for making memories in the ocean with, head over to our workshop page and find a week that works for you.

Thanks for a wonderful week Hugh!

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