Early last year this project began with excited talks from Tom Clarke, the head Gardener from Trelissick, who'd recently felled a storm damaged tree and was looking for an exciting way to use the timber....
'Monumental trees - the truly old and majestic examples of nature - aren’t felled all that often, either by man or wind.
The National Trust is one of the largest non-governmental coastal landowners in the UK and in the past 47 years the Neptune Coastline Campaign has helped them to acquire 720 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and open it up for millions of people to enjoy. The campaign was launched in response to growing fears that development was slowly destroying the best of the nation's natural coastline.
One of their Cornish properties is Trelissick which sits on the River Fal. In the middle of 2011 a 28 metre Cupressus Macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) in the grounds of Trelissick was suffering from storm damage so had to be felled and the estate gardeners decided to find a good use for some of the spare timber. The National Trust approached local wooden surfboard builder James Otter to see if he could produce a surfboard using the Macrocarpa wood which could then be toured around the Trust’s coastal properties to promote their conservation work.
When the tree was felled James Otter selected planks from the heavily furrowed trunk, and after air drying, set about making a 6’10” egg, with film-maker Romain Jucherau documenting the process. The result is a beautiful board with a remarkable grain pattern and definition unlike many other wooden surfboards.
“Macrocarpa isn’t an obvious choice of material for a hollow skin and frame wooden board because it’s 50-60% heavier than the cedar we normally use, however it looks beautiful with the rippling and birdseye knots and just feels so strong.” said James Otter.
Rob Joules Watersports co-ordinator for the National Trust said “Its great to be working with James and I am really pleased how the board has come out. The gardeners at Trellisick were amazed with the finished product and it’s a great way of raising the awareness of our work along the coast”.
The National Trust’s latest acquisition, which is designed and built to last for just as long as the historical buildings that it also preserves, will be touring it’s coastal properties in the UK over the summer months and sliding across waves under the feet of some of the National Trust’s surf ambassadors. Keep a look out for a beautiful wooden board with a green oak branch decal at your favourite coastal beauty spot soon.' - Mat Arney