More Steps and a Lower Heart Rate: Matt and Henry’s Wooden Surfboard Workshop Experience

03 . 10 . 19

​For the second of our August “Make Your Own Wooden Surfboard” workshops, we were joined by Matt and Henry. Matt runs a company that designs multi-sensory experiences for theme parks (rides and experiences such as simulators) and works between the UK and Florida, where he does most of his surfing, whilst Henry is a neurosurgeon who grew up on a farm in Devon’s Otter Valley. With roles like those, it was no surprise that they both wore watches that captured data about their activity. One lunchtime, their fitness watches came up in conversation and we discussed the positive and negative points of different surf apps that use watch data and GPS tracking to record your waves and wave count, speed, paddle speed and so on. We’re fascinated to find out some day how our wooden surfboards compare to foam-core surfboards in terms of speed on a wave and paddle speed, but our conversation then took a different turn: Matt had been wearing his watch every day (Henry had taken the opportunity of a few days digital detox, including from his watch, on the first few days) so how did a week on his feet making a wooden surfboard compare to a week at work? We had the data in front of us, so did some sums!

Looking at data from Matt’s previous couple of weeks at work, when his days included a mix of desk work and being out-and-about for meetings and visits, we calculated that during each day that Matt spent making his surfboard:

– He took 26% more steps.

– His resting heart rate was 5% less than on a normal workday.

– He spent 16% more time on his feet (his watch based this upon if he stood up once in every one hour block, so in reality he spent far more time on his feet in the workshop than at work).

Because Henry had not been wearing his watch at the start of the week he had less data to calculate a similar comparison, however he had worn his watch on the Wednesday and the Thursday, which meant that we were able to compare two similar days differentiated by shaping the surfboard rather than building the blank. He worked out that his stroke rate with a plane or rasp on the “shaping” Thursday was approximately 10,000 strokes.

We love this sort of data. Traditionally, when shaping a foam core surfboard where the core material is totally uniform (no grain or knots!) and you can remove quite a lot of material in a single pass, a shaper will count his passes (running the planer along one side or rail of the surfboard) or steps along each side of the board and repeat that on the other, so that they remove a uniform amount of foam and maintain symmetry. With wood, we can’t do that. It takes more time and energy to shave away material and shape the rails, and how we do that is often determined by the natural characteristics of the timber. Knowing how many strokes of a plane or rasp are taken on the shaping day of a workshop week is fascinating. And, seeing that a week in our workshop (despite the physical nature of the work) is proven to be more relaxing than a week at work thanks to resting heart rate data, is amazing.

During their week with us Matt shaped himself a 8’2” Pieces of Eight, whilst Henry made a 7’2” Barque. If you’re interested in finding out more about lowering your resting heart rate and increasing your step-count with us, and coming away from the experience with a new wooden surfboard of your own, then click through to our surfboard workshops page to find out more and to book.

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