Meet Andrew, Founder and Creator of Surfer Dad
We meet up with Andrew, founder and creator of Surfer Dad, a blog about all things surfing and parenthood. Supplying an ample amount of knowledge on surfing, the Surfer Dad blog helps parents with kids that want to start surfing at a young age and prepares them with what to expect for those first timers. Based in Cornwall and with the waves right on his doorstep, we catch up with Andrew to discuss Cornish living, the best surfing spots and what other watersports to try this summer.
What’s your top place to explore?
I love the deep dark depths of west Cornwall – proper Cornwall where it still feels wild. People always talk about Penzance being the end of the line, but if you explore beyond the end you’ll find the spectacular Penwith coastline. Along it you’ll discover the magical Minack Theatre overlooking Porthcurno, and one of the most authentically Cornish surf spots of all – Sennen Cove.
How did you get into surfing?
I was lucky enough to have a very cool and charismatic PE teacher called John Barlow, who would teach anyone who was interested to surf. He used to live in a caravan in the middle of Constantine Bay golf course. For the fee of keeping the bunkers tidy, he got to live next to a fantastic beach where only the mega rich or very fortunate lived. In the summer, me and my mate would stay there, hang out and get free surf lessons. It wouldn’t be allowed today, but they were great weekends and thanks to John Barlow’s generosity, surfing became a central part of my life.
What’s your favourite thing about surfing?
The salt water washes away life’s stress and catching waves recharges my batteries. There’s not a single element I can separate as my favourite – it’s the whole ritual.
What makes surfing in Cornwall so special?
The landscape and the locals. I recently went on holiday to Australia. On the Friday I was surfing Sydney’s northern beaches in nothing but shorts and sunscreen in 30c heat. On the Sunday I was surfing Harlyn Bay in a 5mm wetsuit, boots, gloves and hood in 5c, but I felt a sense of contentment I’ve found nowhere else in the world.
What are your top tips for those that want to start learning?
- Get a lesson. Surf schools will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to get started safely.
- Hire don’t buy. Some people like to buy into the culture, spending hundreds of pounds on surf gear they’ll never use again. Hiring is relatively inexpensive and a lot less hassle than carrying soggy wetsuits and sandy surfboards around.
What other watersports would you recommend giving a try?
- Body surfing. Swim with the waves and experience the thrill of wave riding. It’s simple and free.
- Kayaking, stand up paddle (SUP) boarding and kitesurfing can all be good fun but you’ll need the equipment and a guide or instructor.
What do you love most about Cornwall?
The rich Celtic culture. It’s infused in the music, theatre, buildings, food and drink, clothing, people and lifestyle. It’s not always obvious but if you’re looking for evidence it’s everywhere. It’s infectious in a good way.
What would be on your must-do list whilst in Cornwall?
Find a beautiful cove that’s off the beaten track. At low tide, climb down and when nobody’s around, go skinny dipping. It’ll make you feel young and free again.
If you don’t like the sound of that, take a walk along the beach at Bedruthan Steps. Park at Carnewas National Trust car park and follow the signs. The steps down are a bit challenging but it’s one of the most beautiful and photogenic places in the world. Only accessible at low tide.
Where’s your best-loved ‘hidden’ surf spot?
If I told you that my friends and fellow surfers would never speak to me again. But a hidden gem called Gwynver Beach lies not far from Sennen Cove. I can say no more.
Can you sum up Cornwall in three words?
Rich without money.
Want to find out more about what Surfer Dad and his tips on surfing? Be sure to check out his website for more information.