Eat, Sleep, Surf, Repeat

Surf culture is one of those things you get or you don’t. I struggle to class myself as a ‘surfer’. I’m always pleased to get my feet on the board, let alone stay on it! But my lack of skill is made up by a brimming, so-called, ‘Surfer's Heart’. Surfers are to a certain extent a breed of their own and while this has been tempered over the years, you don’t need to look far to find its core.  

Cornwall’s role in the birth of surf culture was central. The Cornish, both by birth right and adopted, ‘got’ surfing. It helped that they had a perfect practice ground, but by virtue of its geography and ability to attract searchers, Cornwall was instinctively the heart of surfing in the UK.  

Emulating their heroes on the west coast of America the first surfers adopted a lifestyle and attitude that could alienate or idolise. Their brand of ‘cool’ included fashion, music, art, film, travel and a life organised around the next wave. It wasn’t long before Cornwall’s reputation spread and US and Australian surfers started making the trip to the far tip of Britain, bringing new elements, friendships and kudos to the local scene.

When Skewjack rose up on the headland near Sennen it answered a call. It became a hub for a new way of thinking and living. To be a surfer at that time was niche. To understand the ocean in the way they did wasn’t common. The ‘Surfer’s Heart’ could only be understood by fellow wave hunters. It was a safe place to party, share stories and live out an alternative lifestyle. Skewjack also became home to the UK’s first surf school, brought surfing to a mass audience for the first time and used surfing as a therapy tool. It blazed a trail, which still leaves its mark today.

Gwenver. 1972.