Another year and another Boards, Barbecue and Beers! We were lucky enough to host a fifth sold out event at our workshop last Friday, witnessing two awe inspiring and captivating talks and enjoy a lovely evening in great company with beers and food in plentiful supply.
Our wide open workshop doors welcomed everyone, giving people a chance to walk around and get a taste for what we, at Otter Surfboards, are all about and see newly finished boards made by our latest workshoppers. Outside, Woodfired Canteen offered up tasty goodness hot off their coals and Jubel Beer provided some refreshing beverages, giving us a chance to congregate and relax before stepping over, beers in hand, to the barn for the first of the evening’s talks.
Dan Kieran, author of The Surfboard, CEO and co-founder of publishing platform Unbound and 2016 Otter Workshopper endeared himself to the audience with an honest, thought provoking and funny recollection of life events that led him to build his own surfboard with us, despite having never surfed before. He had spent the day with the team here and having surfed his first wave that morning with James, the stoke and excitement he felt was truly infectious.
Following Q and A’s and a break for more food and beer we were introduced to our second speaker of the evening, Sophie Hellyer, former British Champion Surfer, writer and environmentalist. Sophie is is a lead voice in highlighting the misrepresentation and discrimination of women in our sport. After showing us an advert page for a leading surf brand with contrasting images of a man surfing and a woman on the beach posing in a bikini, she informed the audience of her personal experiences in the surf industry as part of the machine and what drove her to speak up about inequality and pursue the cause. It was a frank and absorbing insight into the impact of the everyday reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles and the damage that this is doing. Sophie showed several videos of organisations helping to make surfing more inclusive and diverse, which inspires her proactive approach to the problem; more information will be shared in a future Otter Journal Article.
Big thanks to both Dan and Sophie for joining us, Mount Pleasant Eco Park for the wonderful venue, Jubel and Woodfired Canteen for the refreshments and Dave Williams and Max White for capturing the evening. Of course, a huge thanks go out to all of you who came along and made it such a memorable night too, see you all again next year!