Sibling Shaping: Flora, Ellie and Jolly’s Wooden Surfboard Workshop Experience

17 . 01 . 19

In mid-October, the workshop was full of the noise and energy of the Koska kids; Flora, Ellie and Jolly. In the summer of 2015 their dad Marc joined us to make himself a 9’1” Wicket, and three years on it was a pleasure to welcome his three offspring into the workshop. Jolly was on the half term holidays of his GCSE year at school, Ellie is taking a year out between college and university, and Flora was enjoying those extended “reading week” holidays that you get in your second year at university. As siblings do, each wanted to differentiate their surfboard from the others somehow.

A couple of months before the course, during the summer, Jolly and Ellie visited us to look through the board rack here and pick out the surfboard model that they wanted to make and the timber lay-up of their board. Jolly asked for American red cedar rails so that they would be darker than the rest of the board – we don’t use American red cedar (all of our cedar being from woodlands here in the southwest) so ordered a couple of planks in, and Ellie wanted a fine pin line running down either side of the thin pale central stringer in her board. To do this, Marc sent us some strips of veneer that had been stained black that he had used in a strip-planked canoe build that he recently completed. These were included edge-on in the deck and bottom skin lay-ups and the final result looks tack-sharp and amazing. Flora was scuba diving in Central America over the summer, so had to trust the selection of her timber lay-up to her mum, who opted for our classic double pale strips sandwiched by three brown oak stringers. At the end of their week, we asked each of them to share with us a comment about the experience of spending a week in our workshop in close proximity to their siblings pouring their energies into crafting a wooden surfboard of their own.


“I had such an amazing week learning how to make a surfboard with James; it was a great feeling to be using my hands and creating, which in the past two years I have not done a lot of – I came away from the week wanting to find out what I could make next! Working in the workshop with Ellie and Jolly was really special as we haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with each other recently, Jolly, Ellie and I are all spread about now. I will definitely never forget the amazing week I had and I cannot wait to catch some waves with Ellie and Jolly!”


“My experience with Otter Surfboards making my 8’2” alongside my brother and sister was really cool. I’ve surfed a lot since the workshop in the autumn, and I can’t wait to be able to surf my own board. A week was the perfect amount of time to not be rushed but still have full days, and after 1000 cups of tea we all finished sanding down our own boards at the same time on the Friday. I’m really grateful to have had this experience and it’s something that I will cherish for life!”


“This course has been a highlight of my life! I now feel a tremendous amount of respect and understanding for every woodworker out there. This course was an incredible way to bond with my sisters, who I don’t see a lot now. I can’t thank you all enough for your help in my moments of need, your constant guidance and your great caring for my board! A truly unforgettable week!”

If you’d like to join us to make your own wooden surfboard like Flora, Ellie and Jolly did, you can find the dates and details of our monthly workshop weeks here.

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