Spending a week making a wooden surfboard here at Otter is, for most people, going to be a step away from their day-to-day. The differences between this and a day job ranges from adjusting to spending a week focusing on learning to quite simply spending a week on your feet doing manual work. These adjustments can be challenging, but the reward on Friday afternoon is (we think) well worth it.
You can get a good idea of the processes that go into the making of a wooden surfboard over the course of a workshop week by following our daily social media updates or watching one of our videos. Last week, we thought we’d ask our three workshoppers – commercial pilot Eugene and father and Son Justin and Jude – what else stood out about their week with us. We wanted to know what the week was like for them, outside of the actual making that takes place here in the workshop.
“What has stuck in my mind about my wooden surfboard workshop experience? That’s a good question, but one with an easy answer: the thought of moving to Cornwall (or possibly North Devon)! The pace of life is nicer and everyone is so chilled and friendly. I’m completely switched off from work thoughts and stresses. I haven’t been thinking about it at all this week, and it’s been a fantastic tonic. We visit Croyde a lot as our son lives there, and the moment we hit the Devon border on the M5 one always feels the stresses and fast pace of life oozing away.”
“Although the workshop was longer hours than school, the work was much more interesting and I got distracted less often. I found working here more relaxed, and it was good to have the freedom to see what happens, rather than following strict instructions and timings like at school. I was eager to do the work, and have looked forward to coming in each day.
It was definitely different to my regular half term holidays. Usually I’d try to get some rest after being so tired each week from school and swimming training. The constant work and intense concentration wiped me out a bit and I’ve been ready to go to bed by about 7pm each night. I guess that most older people are used to something like this, whereas I’m a complete stranger to straight full-time work!”
“On previous trips to Cornwall we’ve visited friends near Camelford, or headed further west to Sennen, but not spent any time in between. We arrived on the Sunday evening before the start of the workshop in time for a surf, but Storm Brian had other ideas, and the ocean was off-limits for the first half of our week. On Wednesday it changed though, becoming warmer with some late October sunshine and a gentle breeze. Getting in the sea for a surf on Thursday morning, before the day began at the workshop, was really lovely. From out beyond the white-water the view is of all the houses nestled into the valley; the one road, one-horse town, wild-west outpost changes into a coastal village. Looking east and west the tall dark headlands fade into the distance. Would we come back, were it not for the Otter workshop? Probably – the area isn’t mobbed by 4x4s from Chelsea, the man who perennially walks his dog gives you a nod and a smile, and the pasties from just up the road are the best in Cornwall.”