We lucked out a few weeks ago and slid down to quiet corner of Devon, UK to go to a festival called Somersault. I’m not a big festival guy; call me a socially awkward surfer; maybe I like the peace between the noise of life. Either way, I went with family in tow. I was asked to do a quick slot about The Wave and to tell people about the project and our own plans for “making waves.” What I wasn’t prepared for was the full blown inspiration that was to be catapulted our way.
The UK usually gets some pretty duff waves in summer. This year, it’s been amazing weather. Sadly, though, that has meant a pretty quiet spell in terms of wave riding. However, we are blessed with some very passionate people and some inspiring projects who all use the ocean and surfing to drive positive messages and social missions. This weekend was certainly a case of “make hay while the sun shines.”
Surfers Against Sewage, some of the coolest campaigners on earth, managed to curate a yurt load of very special musicians, speakers, film makers and activities to rival any major conference and film festival. Andy Hughes presented the Gyre movie, an exploration into the political issues around marine waste. We were taken on cultural journeys and storytelling from Sam Bleakley who has extensively travelled the globe with Surf EXPLORE documenting cultural references in coastal regions and witnessing sustainable tourism in places you would never expect. Gabe Davies from Patagonia and Andrew “Cotty” Cotton demonstrated inflation vests for big wave surfing and talked about “that wave” although it became patently obvious Cotty is keen to talk about other waves soon. As an interlude we had music from Indie Kitchen including the sumptuous India Bourne as a personal highlight. It was topped off with a world exclusive film from Mickey Smith which gave us goose bumps all over, we were truly spoiled.
Last week, we announced our official support of Surfers Against Sewage. Once we are pushing waves, they will be working with us to educate, campaign and energize the public around costal and marine protection issues. In the meantime, we have donated a prize for their epic raffle of first person (plus three friends) to surf our Wavegarden for the morning before we open to the public.
What was apparent during the festival is that a hard punching, gritty campaigning organization has the ability to deliver their mission through popular cultural channels and does it really successfully. Hugo Tagholm, Dom Ferris and their team were a credit to their cause and feel proud to be working with them.
Headline sets were delivered by Jack Johnson and Devon’s finest singing surfer Ben Howard who just gets better with each song he writes. Even as the sun dripped down over the hillsides and the balmy evening sank upon us, it was great to be a small part of cool britannia.