One of the leading surfers in the world is helping the surf industry thrive in Cornwall by educating the next generation of industry experts.
Professional surfer Ben Skinner is sharing the talent and resources at his Newquay-based company Skindog Surfboards, with degree students from Cornwall College Newquay, giving them a unique opportunity to get hands on experience of building a custom board.
Working in partnership with Cornwall College, Skindog has been helping students from the Surf Science & Technology course to design, shape, paint and finish their own custom surfboards as part of a module on their specialist foundation degree programme.
Programme Manager Steve Bowens from the College said: “Nowhere else in the world offers such a unique opportunity and experience as this. Our students each got to spend an entire week learning the skills of the industry, working side-by-side with Ben Skinner and his talented team at the factory. The students have all come back from this industry placement highly motivated and with a deep understanding of the various aspects associated with surfboard construction.”
The week-long experience included students learning about the entire process of creating a custom board, ranging from Commuter Aided Design (CAD) and client analysis to the practical skills of board building, laminating and finishing.
Student Marcus Moore enjoyed the ‘creative aspect’ of the board build. He explained: “Being given the freedom to design and create a unique board, just for me, was so much fun. I enjoyed learning the basics of all the different techniques that it takes for a surfboard to come together. It was satisfying being able to see the progress after each stage.”
Marcus continued: “Ben and his team are a lovely bunch, really happy to take time to explain what they were doing, how and why. It’s a great atmosphere, laid back, but everyone knows their roles as they all rely on one another to produce the best quality surfboard that they can. It’s also really cool to be in an environment where the common interest is surfing, definitely a first for me.”
Fellow student René Hafkesbrink, relocated from Germany to study Surf Science & Technology at Cornwall College Newquay.
Rene said: “It wasn’t the first time for me shaping a board, but it was the first time the outcome was perfect. The Skindog team and Ben Skinner are open minded people, who love what they do. I learn a lot and now am able to evaluate surfboards better, knowing what works or not. Surfing your own custom board is amazing. Experiencing the thrill of glide and speed on a board you designed and yourself is a thing to look forward to.”
For more information on the Surf and Marine Sport Science courses available at Cornwall College Newquay visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0845 22 32 567.
Skindog Surfboards produces the highest quality, hand crafted custom surfboard in Cornwall. Visit their website at www.skindogsurfboards.co.uk