I've been sitting on this project for a good while now, dying to shout about it, and now at long last I'm allowed to leak out a few images and let you in on it: For the past 9 months a friend and I have been working on a wooden surfboard project called 'The Storyboard' which goes live next Saturday, September 17th, and we're both really excited about it as what started out as a small seed of an idea has grown into a multi-faceted project incorporating an exhibition, a book and a magazine article.
The tools of his trade; James shaping the nose of The Storyboard.
James Otter designs and builds beautiful bespoke wooden skin and frame surfboards here in Cornwall, in a workshop on the most photogenic smallholding above Porthtowan beach.
We've documented the lifecycle of one of these surfboards, using timber from just a single Western Red Cedar tree, all the way from the woodland in Cornwall where the tree was felled, through the sawmill and then every single step of the making process. Ordinarily this style of wooden surfboard uses a variety of hardwoods wrapped around a plywood frame but due to the "one tree" principle James even made his own plywood from the same planks that were then used to make the rest of the board, going as far as producing the frames for the exhibition from the leftovers and offcuts.
The internal framework of the surfboard is being left exposed (displayed without the deck) to reveal a poem which has been engraved onto the plywood ribs that traces the lifecycle of the timber from tree to sea, from the moment it crashed to the ground to the moment it will splash in the waves.
It took many hours of painstaking craftsmanship to get to this skeletal stage.
The Storyboard will be displayed alongside a photographic exhibition that documents the entire build process, and accompanied by a small coffee table book, from September 17th through until the end of October at the Tubestation and Zeath Gallery in Polzeath, North Cornwall, UK.
You're all welcome to come along to the launch party on September 17th from 3pm for tea, cake and wooden surfboards, and then another event is planned to coincide with the Jesus Longboard Classic being held in Polzeath over the weekend of October 15th and 16th, where James will also have some demonstration boards available for people to paddle out for a wave on. Or just stop by anytime over the six weeks to get your eyes on it.