Growing up in the most westerly point of the UK comes with a unique set of challenges. The weather can be brutal, the winters long, and a vehicle is a necessity unless you want to take more than an hour to go 20 minutes down the road (public transport ain’t so hot). However, for surfers, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.
Enter, George Carpenter. The talented 21 year-old surf coach from Sennen, Cornwall, who profoundly loves his neck of the woods more than anywhere in the world.
During one of those rip-roaring winter days, we tasked George, along with filmer Rob Blackett, to shoot a full 24 hours, day-in-the-life-of a west Cornwall rippah. And you can watch that right here, including George’s mammoth, multi session, 12 hours of shredding.
“A lot of people whinge about the waves here but I’ve done a bit of travelling now and I actually think the waves are pretty god damn good here! There’s definitely a stigma around it.
“A lot of my friends live in Newquay or Croyde. They deal with one coastline which means they can’t surf all the time.
“We’re quite lucky out there, especially in the winter as we have both coasts. It doesn’t really matter what the wind direction is, you can normally always find a good wave as long as there is swell, which is an absolute luxury.
“I also love how everyone from the age of 10 to 75 can all talk to one another and hang out together and be friends and it not be weird at all. They’ve all got the same stoke.”
And how do you get around as a frothing grom who lives in the middle of nowhere? “I had to rely on Dad for a few lifts.” [laughs]. “I have to burn fuel now sadly (especially with the cost of it right now), that’s the way it is.
“Funnily enough he got into photography as I started surfing when I was around nine or ten years old. For a few years, he was the photographer down at the surf school.
“I kind of owe a lot to my Dad for helping me get out there, following me around with his camera and taking some great shots. He’s a good photographer.”
Speaking of cameras, what's it like to make a debut surf edit at spots you've grown up surfing every day?
“It was a really fun project. Rob froths more than me sometimes. It’s great working with him, It’s a good recipe for making a cool edit.
“My favourite parts are the silly bits. Me and my mates don’t take anything seriously and it sort of makes you forget you’re making a video.
“So many surf edits are very similar these days so to have more of that breaks it up a bit.
“I’ve done a lot of competing in the past and definitely prefer this. There’s a freedom to making a film.”
Producing a surf film isn’t all plain sailing though. As George would soon find out.
“Trying to get a few minutes of video in one day was way more challenging than I thought. You’ve got the conditions as one thing, and the banks down at Sennen can be quite hit-and-miss. It’s quite stressful.
“Rob camped at mine one night, we got up at first light and surfed for four hours but it was a complete write off. It was so bad. We ended up doing about six surfs that day and we lucked out on the last couple sessions, it got better in the evening.
“I was completely cooked by the end. We had people back at ours after and I just sat in the chair holding a beer almost falling asleep.”
And what else is happening in George’s life? Well, just the small matter of a 16 hour dawn-to-dusk surf on the summer solstice, all in the name of charity.
“I had the idea last year and I kind of missed it so thought I’d aim for this year instead. It was all for the charity Cornwall Mind.
“A lot of my friends deal with mental health issues and I know so many people who have been effected by it, so this is my way of trying to raise awareness (even if it doesn’t raise a load of money) and encourage guys especially, to speak out.
“Yeah the surf was super small and wasn’t really sure what I was going to do at high tide when there’s no waves at all. But my girlfriend Bella paddled out and brought me breakfast, plus a whole load of friends joined in, even some flew in from half way round the world!”
What about the near future? “I might do Boardmasters this year but just going to work and save some money to go to Canada with Bella for a few months.
“Then I want to dedicate the next 8-10 years of my life to travelling. Hawaii, maybe even Teahupoo on a manageable day, I’m thinking about it!”
Look out for George scratching into Tahiti’s power wave soon. Maybe.