Project Title: Otter X The National Trust
Wood Species and Products Used: Cupressus Macrocarpa, Birch Plywood felled at local National Trust property, Trelissick Gardens
Building client/owner: The National Trust
Furniture Designer: Otter Surfboards
Furniture Maker / Manufacturer: Otter Surfboards
Wood Supplier: National Trust
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 private coastal landowners in the UK and in the past 47 years The Neptune Coastline Campaign has helped to acquire 720 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. One of their Cornish Properties is Trelissick which sits on the River Fal. Early in 2011 a 28 metre cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) in the grounds of Trelissick had to be felled and the estate gardeners decided to find a good use for the timber. The Trust approached local wooden surfboard builder James Otter to see if he could produce a surfboard using the macrocarpa, which could then be toured around the Trust’s coastal properties to promote the conservation work of the Neptune Coastline Campaign.
When the tree was felled Otter selected planks from the heavily furrowed trunk, and after air drying, set about making a 6ft10” egg, with film-maker Romain Jucherau documenting the process. The result is a beautiful board with 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 normally used, however it looks beautiful with the rippling and birdseye knots and just feels so strong.
The National Trust’s latest acquisition, which is designed and built to last for just as long as the historical buildings that the Trust makes it’s business of preserving, 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 blue oak leaf decal at a coastal beauty spot near you.
The short movie is available to view here