Sometimes you need something a little different for your holiday in Cornwall. Sure, beach days and sunshine are great, but what about achieving something inspirational? Otter Surfboards are based just along the coast from Gwel an Mor at Porthtowan and provide courses in building traditional wooden surfboards. Imagine heading home with a beautifully crafted surfboard!
James Otter has a long standing history in wood work and a love for this coastline that is rarely surpassed. Here at Gwel an Mor we love anyone who has the same passion for Cornwall as we do.
What drew you to Cornwall / were you born and raised here?
The beauty of the place, the surf and the people. I grew up near London, but always came on holiday down this way with family and friends and then studied at Plymouth University. We were spending every weekend in the car/tent down here, so when studies were finished, we made the move this way and never looked back.
What do you love most about Cornwall?
The connection to the ocean and the connection to the outdoors…it’s impossible and incredibly important to never lose those.
How long have you surfed for?
About twelve years
How long have you been making wooden surfboards for and why did you start?
About eight years. I was fed up of my foam boards constantly breaking and needing replacing after only a couple of years and felt that as a woodworker I could make something stronger, longer lasting and much less damaging to the environment.
Can you explain the workshops? What does a customer do whilst with you and how long does it take?
We run a few different courses. We have a five day one, in which time you can make your own surfboard. You spend three days gluing all the pieces together and then two days shaping it to give you a surfboard that is designed and made to spend a lifetime riding waves. We also run one day courses, where you can join us to make your own bellyboard or handplane.
What sort of people come through the door?
A huge mix of people, some with years of making and/or surfing experience and others with neither, from all over the world. The youngest we have had join us was 12 and the eldest was 65.
Is it usually part of a bigger holiday? Or does it make a great standalone break?
Either, though typically our week long courses are a destination and the one day ones are part of a weekend break.
What’s your perfect day in Cornwall?
Sun, sand and surf shared with friends. What could be better?
You can find out more about Otter surfboards courses here, on their website and you could always stay in a beautiful wooden lodge whilst here on your surf holiday in Cornwall. Have a look at some of our beautiful wooden lodges here.
If you don’t surf, but have want to learn then we can help you out, along with our partners at Ebo Adventure to get you riding the waves on the Cornish coast, find out more here or call us on 01209 842 354.
Many thanks to James at Otter Surfboards for his time, and to Mat Arney for the images.