Chris Tyler arrived in Cornwall at the start of the 60’s. He followed a girl and fell in love … with Penwith. Self described as a bohemian (not a hippy!) he felt a connection with the art community of St Ives and was inspired by their work and conversation. Chris’ love of the sea and his skill as a sailor placed him well to go on and discover the art of surfing. It was while working in an office rented from fellow pioneer and early surf filmmaker, John Adams, that Chris caught his first wave and joined a small band uncovering some of today’s best loved surf spots.
Whatever Chris was passionate about it was hard for other people not to be passionate about. He was a man with bags of charm, wit and imagination. So, when an old friend from Essex rang him and drew his attention to a former RAF station near Land’s End … Chris saw an opportunity too.
The vision for Chris was a surf village. Somewhere where surfers could gather, somewhere where surfing could be taught and somewhere where they could ‘carry on the party’ of the 60’s. He and that friend from Essex, Ron Bishop, made the vision a reality, injecting a shot of inspiration that touched many and created a unique moment in time.
As I have collected stories for this project the common theme has been a great love and respect for ‘Creaky’, as he was affectionately called. He was seen as a true visionary by the surfers who congregated at Skewjack, by his staff, his contemporaries in the worlds of art and surfing and by the guests who he introduced to a ‘dream’ lifestyle.
His recent death was keenly felt, not least by myself. His ability to inspire never left him and he could always pick me up, just by the sound of his voice on the crackly line from Bulgaria. The book ‘Skewjack Stories’ is now dedicated to him.