One of the best surfers in the world is determined to see the surf industry thrive in Cornwall and beyond 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, 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.
Few students in the world can boast they are learning directly from Ben Skinner and his team of industry leading professionals, which includes Ben’s business partner Jason Gray, expert sander and former British Surfing champion Shaun Skilton and sprayer Jesús González Verdi from Spain.
Ben Skinner, who is currently fifth in the world Longboard rankings, explains: “My relationship evolved with Cornwall College through a good friend of mine Ciaran Mcqueen. We are really excited about doing the course and it’s something that we all find interesting; teaching and passing on the knowledge that we’ve learnt along the way. It’s been a great process building our factory and being able to offer our services to Cornwall College and give the students the experience of getting hands-on and having a custom board built is great.”
Student Ben Sherratt moved down from Exeter to study the Surf Science & Technology course at Cornwall College Newquay. Ben has been working with the SkinDog team to create his own asymmetrical surfboard. Ben says: “Surf Science is a wicked course and I’m having lots of fun on it. I’d recommend it to anyone really, even if you’re not a great surfer. As long as you’ve got the interest in board shaping, marketing and enterprise or other aspects of the surf industry then there’s something for you on this course.
“It has been a real eye opener for me to see the different areas in the surf industry. I would really like to be a shaper. Asymmetrical boards are an up and coming thing that are going to take off and I’d really like to get into that style of shaping. The course shows you the many different angles to get into the surfing industry so it’s definitely worth jumping on board.”
Programme Manager Brender Willmott from Cornwall College Newquay explained the distinctive appeal of the FdSc Surf Science & Technology: “I am so happy to be managing a course that is not only educational but inspirational and that offers a rare opportunity to study at degree level, a sport and industry that is growing so rapidly. It offers unique chances to design and build a board with world class athletes and shapers, to work with national level competitive organisations and sponsors, experience an overseas trip to explore environmental aspects and business opportunities, at the same time as gaining a recognised degree qualification studied primarily on or close to Newquay beaches. What more could you want – it’s a unique opportunity to submerge yourself in the culture of the sport and gain knowledge and experience that will equip you to gain employment in any number of aspects of the sport you love.”
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 is about to launch its new website, which will showcase the world leading services and products available.