Paul the wooden surfboard builder
“I always believed the most sustainable thing I could do as a business was to not advertise and keep promotion to a minimum”.
An instrumental part of our Cornish life down here is surfing. We have some of the best breaks and natural reefs in Europe. With that in mind and that’s what you’re into, then you’re going to need some sort of board to surf on. Most of us choose a resin based board, but others feel that only wood will do. There are local traditional wooden board builders out there but you’ll need to look around for what best suits you. Paul is one such local board builder and here’s his story.
Paul grew up in Germany. His first choice on the career front was teaching. He studied for a while but then became a little disenchanted with it, so he took off travelling for a while. He was well into surfing then so he headed off to New Zealand and spent time hitch hiking around, then came back to Germany. He did some bike couriering for a year or so and then set off again. This time it was working in Morocco as a surf guide. Shortly after, his thoughts turned towards a different career path in the form of boat building. He moved to Wales, started a course there and got into building boats with the addition of surfboards too. He then got offered a position as a foreman in a local boatyard but had so much interest in the surfboards that I opted for that route. So given the fact that building surfboards had now become more of a passion for him, the natural way forward was to move where the action would be, Cornwall. He moved here with his partner back in 2013. This is his home now.
There’s something very sculptural about what Paul builds with wood. His ethos is keeping the surfboard thing pretty underground to some extent. Paul told me: “ I always believed the most sustainable thing I could do as a business was to not advertise and keep promotion to a minimum”.
I love the fact that Paul has that underground feel to the business. He offers workshops to whoever fancies the idea of building a real surfboard. A great way of passing his skills on.