Here are a few stories and words from some of the people who have joined us over the years…

rachel pickup blue doors otter wooden surfboard


“The thing I found most memorable was trusting your hands.. and your heart and feet following them round and watching the board emerge. Not to be out done by that secret moment when you paddle out on something you have made, smiling away to yourself in slight disbelief that it actually floats.

A great Journey you will probably travel further than you think.”

-Rachel 2021 Workshopper

Otter wooden surfboard wave surfer


“My week’s spent with James and his team rank up there with the best weeks of my life. Both my workshops came after intense and stressful work contracts, so being removed from all day to day stress and focusing on creating in a wonderfully simple environment was exactly what I needed.

James’s amazing teaching style where he imparts his knowledge in a down to earth and simple way, while empowering you to go beyond what you thought you could do, was truly amazing. I spend much of life in a digital world, so being in the real world, the feel of the tools in your hands and the smell of timber as you work, was wonderfully life affirming.

At the end of the week I had fallen in love with my board and James, I felt properly connected to my life again, probably due to a combination of time spent meditatively working on my board and talking and connecting with good people.”

Matt 2015 and 2018 workshopper

otter wooden surfboard stoked

Lauren and Harry

“I bought a ‘build a wooden surfboard’ experience for my partner as a 30th birthday gift, and I am so grateful to James and the team for making it such a memorable and special experience for him. Otter Surfboards made booking the experience very easy, answering my many questions in a prompt and friendly manner.

They made my partner feel so welcome, and took the time to show him and the other guests around the area, as well as inviting me into the workshop to see how everyone was progressing with their boards over the week (and have some time with Buddy, the resident workshop doggo!).

It is by far the best gift I have ever been able to give my partner, and I cannot recommend Otter Surfboards enough!”

– Lauren and Harry October 2022

Stokesy tucks under the lip


“I knew the board would work, in terms of how it would cut through water, but I didn’t know how much performance it would have… given the development of twin fins over the years, we picked the right time to make a performance twin fin out of wood. Riding this for the first time I was surprised at quite how much performance there was.

The board went well, it was really quick, I had no idea it would be so fast. You get a bit more speed and a kind of weight to a carve or turn that is just lovely. It takes a little bit of adjustment, but if you pull into a barrel and trust in the board’s characteristics, you can do stuff that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to do on a foam board, that’s what I like about the difference.”

-Alan Stokes, UK Pro Surfer

shane otter wooden surfboards 5'10 fetch make your own workshop


“It’s been 10 years since I did my course. What a memory, I can still remember vividly sharing that experience with you.

The fetch surfboard still gets ridden multiple times weekly with no signs of age or deterioration. It’s a true testament to the quality product that it is and the craftsmanship that went into it. Fully credit to you and what you are doing. The carpark comments on how beautiful it is continue to this very day.”

-Shane, 2013 Workshopper

otter wooden surfboards waxing up


“It’s so easy to stroke into waves. I went with some friends a couple of weeks ago and I must have caught three times the number of waves they did. It has so much drive, and I’ve had some super long rides on it.

One of the things I’m really enjoying is that I feel the board forces you to move on the board to react to what the wave is doing. I’m loving the different feel and experience it gives.

I read somewhere that a hollow wooden board allows you to feel more of the wave as the energy is transmitted through the more rigid structure more directly than a foam board, which absorbs more of the energy before it reaches your feet. So the wave feels more alive. I’d say that is a pretty good description.”

-Martin, May 2022

Woodburner Chris Penhale


“A series of waves moving my backfoot forward for trim speed, right back for turning, board is flying and other surfers are starting to think I am losing it from the cackles erupting from beachside of the shoredump.

Last wave, walled up, almost closing out forehand wave, pumping for speed the whole way, just kept going faster and I know I did not hit top speed, finished with a floater over a section and walked home grinning from ear to ear and absolutely stoked.” – Michael, Guernsey

otter surfboards surfer wooden


“The atmosphere from the moment we arrived on our first day was the most memorable part of my experience. The way other workshoppers instantly helped each other, each making boards for different reasons, different shapes, and stories, yet sharing a week and ending it with the same pride at what we had achieved.

The workshop is a chance to pause, from work, screens, and distractions. Making something so unique from wood, using only hand tools, which will eventually be used for those moments again away from work and day-to-day life, out in the surf is incredibly connecting. My board will be with me for a lifetime and each personal touch applied during the workshop will bring back those feelings when I’m in the water.

I loved the idea of the sustainability element and having a board I would liken to a classic car! I’m so glad I did the research, spoke to James and decided to make my board, it means every surf I take it on will feel enhanced, and special.”

– James, 2021 Workshopper

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