The Silver Surfer Journal is a project close to our hearts and our home, that we hope some of you may decide to support if you are able to.
The “creative side hustle” of one of our wooden surfboard course alumni, Jon Herbert, The Silver Surfer Journal is a self-published book that documents a decade (2008-2018) of unique surfing journal entries by local septuagenarian surfer Andrew Forrest.
“As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. And never was that truer than for Andrew Forrest, a surfer in his seventies who still charges.”
– Jon Herbert, author
Jon is a freelance Creative Director and Art Director who, before moving to Cornwall two years ago for a sea change and to get stuck into a serious house renovation project in St Agnes, had spent almost two decades in London helping to build sports, outdoor, fashion and lifestyle brands. He and his partner Lucinda had only just made the move when, late in the spring of 2017, Jon joined us for a week to make his own wooden surfboard – a 6’4” Woodburner fish. Their major focus over the two years since has been the incredible renovation of a former mine-captain’s gardener’s cottage in St Agnes, but because DIY building projects can be long and lonesome affairs, Jon also picked up a few shifts at OPEN, the experimental surfboard factory-cum-coffee-shop hangout up the hill from his house at Wheal Kitty. Here, he met Andrew, who would come in for a coffee and a chat after or in-between surfs.
As they got to know each other, Jon realised that there was much more to Andrew than the obvious point of him being one of surfing’s more mature practitioners; he is a former photojournalist so the pair bonded over shared experiences in the media and their love of surf photography and history, and then Andrew told Jon about his surfing life and how he’d been documenting it. Having discovered surfing at 44 years old and now aged 70, Andrew’s energy and devotion would and still will put many surfers less than half of his age to shame. Over the last three decades he’s surfed quite literally whenever there are waves, sometimes chalking up three sessions in a single day and managing 190 surfs in his best year (impressive, for Cornwall), at an age when most of his peers are winding down and starting to think about putting their feet up a bit more. Not only that, but he has documented all of those surfs in annual journals, giving each session a star rating (out of ten) and recording the beach location, surfboard(s) ridden, fin set-up and, whenever possible, a photo for posterity.
Jon is an immensely creative individual and it was therefore somewhat inevitable that, whilst taking a break from working in the creative industries, his friendship with Andrew would spawn some sort of side project based around these journals. Designing a renovation and laying parquet flooring wasn’t quite providing the creative outlet that he’d been hoping for, so he added a self-published book project on to his already significant to-do list.
Inspired by the rare vintage surf books that Andrew had got him hooked on (difficult to find classics such as ‘Hawaiian Surfriders’ by Tom Blake and Tom Blake – The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman, a copy of which Andrew kindly lent to us for a while, and ‘Surf and Sea’ by John M. Kelly Jr.) and the 60s surf posters that Jon collects, Silver Surfer Journal is a design project in which Jon has presented a decade of Andrew’s surfography as select entries and photographs alongside his full and completed calendars. His hope is that beyond presenting a record, the project will inspire many to keep surfing and improving through middle-age and beyond, and show that it’s never too late to try something new – you might just discover your defining passion.
“Beyond its nostalgia value, Andrew’s surfing journey serves as inspiration for every level of surfer – from grommets to pros and everyone in between (including me). We can all relate to the different stages of his progression, learn from his achievements and mistakes, and – hopefully – absorb some of that relentless determination that has kept him going well past retirement age.”
– Jon Herbert, author
With his background in design, it’s no surprise to us that the Silver Surfer Journal is a beautiful and thoroughly considered artefact. Jon’s expertise and attention to detail are obvious throughout, from his own supplementary photography, the layout and choice of fonts, through to the paper stock and binding (Silver Surfer Journal is printed on FSC certified paper made from 100% post-consumer waste). Believe us – he lent us the one and only proof copy for a week!
Silver Surfer Journal is a self-publishing project that Jon is crowdfunding in order to see the paper hit the printing press. Rewards start at just £4 (a set of 4 x A6 postcards featuring photographs and designs from the Silver Surfer Journal) through to £25 for a first edition copy of the book or £30 for signed first edition. There is also a “Buy 4 Get 1 Free” offer.
You can also enjoy this amazing mini-documentary about the Silver Surfer project, created by the wonderful Oli of Mumbo Jumbo fame. Oli visited us a few years ago to feature us in one of his early documentary projects, and it’s great to see him back in the neighbourhood supporting Silver Surfer with his filmmaking skills and vision.
The Silver Surfer: Journal of A 70 Year Old Surfer