Stories & Characters

Otter Surfboards of North Cornwall

We love where we live and so do like-minded pioneers such as James Otter - he's one of the passionate people we've found to feature in our brochure who follows a similar ethos and encapsulates a little bit of where they live. A holiday is more than just the place where you lay your head for the night so we've dug under the skin of each area so you can fully immerse yourself in what the South West is all about, see the sights, hear the sounds and fall in love with the local way of life.

And so we introduce...

Otter surfboards logo

Otter Surfboards in north Cornwall

Maybe it’s something to do with his surname, but James Otter of Otter surfboards is all about the water. He and wife Liz set up camp on the coast when they fell in love with their seaside stretch around eight years ago. They haven’t left since. 

‘I love the colour of the light on the cliffs as the sun first hits them in the morning, the community of creative people, the contrast of all four seasons on the ocean.’

James Otter

The north coast of Cornwall has seen plenty of development over the years but it’s the natural progression by Mother Nature that captures James’ attention and inspires his work.

‘The effect of the storms over the past few winters has been amazing; plenty of sand has shifted, changing our regular surf spots so it’s really important to understand how it all works, the quality of the waves on each beach throughout each tide. The whole system seems to have become more dynamic over the past couple of years. It keeps it all fresh and more rewarding when you score some good waves with just your best mates for company.’

‘I live and work in Porthtowan where the wild Atlantic crashes into the dramatic granite and slate cliffs. Our workshop is on a hill above the beach and as you inch closer on a morning’s walk to work, the smell of the sea mingles with the sweet smell of cedar. Visitors are greeted with the boundless enthusiasm of staff, bandsaw buzzing and Buddy the excitable Labrador. To have the salt in your hair and sand between your toes is so invigorating that our excitement and enthusiasm spills over into the workshop. You’ll see surfboards being born from blocks of wood, hand hewn with a nod to nature, many a woodworking tool and a plethora of clamps. You can never have too many clamps.’

And it’s all set against a salty surf-style backdrop.  The perfect place for testing out the latest work  of art.

Surfboard tools Making surfboards Handmade surfboards


Otter Surfboards carve their love of the deep blue into beautiful bits of wood, lovingly rubbing them down to sea-skimming perfection. For a surfer, the coast is in their bones, swimming in their veins, they live and breathe the salty sea air. James has taken this one step further and made a business out of it so he lives, breathes and works all things surf. 

The north coast inspires everything he does and you can peruse the results of his efforts on the Otter Surfboards website.

Once you've picked out your favourite pieces, find somewhere to stay on the north coast of Cornwall.


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