Entrepreneurs that surf - James Otter
In all the time we’ve known James we’ve never seen him wear shoes. His barefoot approach is his way of reminding himself that he’s his own boss, that he’s free to come and go as he pleases. But don’t let his bare feet fool you, he’s a superb craftsman, a creator, and a talented surfboard shaper. His background is in designing and making award-winning furniture and building traditional timber framed structures, but the first surfboard he shaped soon had him mapping out a different future.
Wooden surfboards have been experiencing a revival and James has been at the forefront here in the UK. His surfboards stand separate from the vast majority of petro-chemical derived surfboards, a little heavier - they glide and carry their momentum, helping you flow through fat sections, they flex and recoil out of turns in a different and more controlled manner than foam boards, and they look like straight up works of art.
This guy is doing work that really matters and it’s inspiring. He wants to share the enjoyment of creating with others and runs regular surfboard, bellyboard and handplane workshops. His path is taking him towards a future of more considered surf craft that not only treads a little lighter on the planet but enhances the pure joy of riding waves. When he rolls into his workshop with a big grin, wet hair and sand between his toes he’s showing everyone that it is possible to whistle while you work.