Short Days and Long Boards

13 . 12 . 15

Our final workshop of 2015 has just wrapped up, and it was a great week to finish the year on.  Every single one of the “Make-Your-Own” wooden surfboard workshop courses that we’ve run this year has been a fantastic experience for us as workshoppers arrive on the Monday morning as strangers and leave on the Friday evening as friends.  This week was no exception.  This last week we were joined by Kevin, who travelled from his home in Ventura, California, to make a 8’0” Pieces of Eight with us, and from Wednesday through Friday we had Boris in the workshop making an almost identical surfboard.  Boris lives just up the road in Perranporth, and is a good friend of Steve, our first ever workshopper.

Boris started building his board on our November workshop course but unfortunately had to miss the last few days, however living just up the road he was able to take a bit of time off work to come back this past week and finish his Pieces of Eight.  Kevin is a recently retired paramedic rescue-boat captain for LA County Fire Department, and he spent the last 24 years of his career based on Santa Catalina in theChannel Islands.

Kevin was Baywatch before “Baywatch”, captaining the boats that gave the infamous TV show its name and even acting at one stage as a technical advisor for the show.  His job on Santa Catalina was wide ranging, and from what we gathered the two man team that he was a part of acted as paramedics, firemen, coastguards, lifeguards, rescue divers and cliff-rescue, and were also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their enormous amount of kit, being as they were fairly self-sufficient operating in a remote island location.  Their relative isolation, on an island 30 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, meant that Kevin spent a large part of his working life in an environment that more closely resembled a California from 50 years or so previously, right down to bison that roam the island having been ferried in as “props” for a silent movie shot there in the 1920s and never removed.  Many of the roads are unpaved, there is little artificial light, and there is an abundance of wildlife both in and out of the water.  There are also several good waves over there, accessible only by boat.

Having two Pieces of Eight with identical wood lay-ups on the trestles this week has been great, because we know that once laminated and back in the hands of Boris and Kevin both boards, although they look virtually identical, will have quite different futures.  We’re looking forward to sharing some local waves with Boris on his 8’0” through 2016, and are excited to hear Kevin’s stories of riding his new wooden surfboard back in California.  Either way both boards are destined for an exciting future.

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