Somersaulting With Surfers Against Sewage

02 . 08 . 15

​Last weekend we joined the wonderful team from Surfers Against Sewage at Somersault Festival in North Devon for a weekend of mud, music and making.  We’d been invited along to run a series of bodysurfing handplane making workshops over the three days of the festival as part of SAS’s programme of events, and James was also presenting a daily talk for their Ocean Lectures series alongside speakers including big wave surfer Andrew Cotton, scientist and surf explorer Easkey Britton and our friend Tom Kay, the founder of Finisterre.

In common with all of the best British music festivals, it bucketed it down on two of the three days and the lush green site turned brown with the mud churned up by 3000 pairs of wellington boots. Thankfully, as the festival’s chosen charity SAS had two tents – a large “big top” style blue tent where all of the talks and performances took place, and a marquee that hosted our workshop, the Marine Litter Museum and SAS’s merchandise stall, so on the Friday and Sunday we worked on whilst the rain fell outside. On the sunny Saturday we were able to shift the trestles outside and get people making in the open air, which we’re pleased to say seemed to draw a lot of passers by over (curious to see what was going on) and straight into the waiting clipboards of the brilliant SAS volunteers who were collecting signatures for their Marine Litter Petition. As with all of the workshop courses that we run, it was fantastic to see the different shapes and decorations that everyone produced to personalize their handplanes, from unique tail templates through to poska paint-pen go-faster stripes. Many of the spaces had been pre-booked, but the remainder filled up quickly following James’ talk and the interest from passing festival traffic so we ended up with the second and third workshops running at maximum capacity, and helped 21 people to produce their own bodysurfing handplanes over the weekend. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Surfers Against Sewage for inviting us to be a part of their presence at Somersault this year.

Check out our view of this year’s festival below, shot by our regular lensman Mat Arney who was also in attendance as SAS’s exhibiting photographer, displaying a set of his photographic prints highlighting the issue of marine plastic pollution on our beaches.

The Main Stage

James presenting a talk as part of the Ocean Lectures, hosted by SAS.

The Otter mobile workshop in the SAS marquee…

And out on the grass when the sun shone on Saturday

Choosing between our different nose template options…

And tail shapes

With the rain that fell on Friday and Sunday, footwear choices were limited to wellies or bare feet.

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