SRFACE Diaries gives you a peek into the lives of our ambassadors. Because we all surf but have so much more that makes us interesting human beings. This week: Copywriter, content creator and surfer Lottie Lewis from Cornwall, United Kingdom. Images by Clare James.
How did you start surfing?
I started surfing when I joined secondary school because the bus would drop us right on the beach after school. There was probably about 10 of us in our girl gang and we all learnt how to surf together. The surf school saw how much we loved it and bounced off each other, and they organized trips for us to go to France in the half term holidays – which is probably where my love of surf and travel stemmed from. As we grew up and went our separate ways, and our dreams and goals began differentiating, the surfing stopped too. It wasn’t until I went on a spontaneous trip to Nicaragua that I picked up a board again really. We were staying in the jungle that backed onto a beautiful break, and the guys we were living with had a bunch of spare surfboards, the water was warm and there really wasn’t much else to do. My month long trip in Nicaragua turned into a 6 month long hitchhiked journey around the whole of Central America with my backpack, new surfboard and street dog, Nica. Upon returning to the UK I was hooked, and have surfed more or less every single day since.
Why do you surf?
I surf because it’s fun! I don’t have a competitive bone in my body and even from the very beginning when I first learnt how to surf, I was never bothered about being the best. I surf because I love the feeling of being in the ocean, the joy that comes from flying along the face and the adrenaline you get on the big days. I surf because when I’m in the sea I feel happy. When there’s waves, surfing to me is like a daily activity – in the same way you wake up, make your coffee, have your breakfast, walk the dog – it fits seamlessly into my life and it feels like second nature. There are so many things I love about surfing but one of my favourite things about the sport is that it’s such a welcoming community. I have spent years travelling around the world by myself with nothing but my dog and my surfboard, and I would never have made the friends I did without surfing. The surf community is an amazing way to meet people, to learn from others and break into a ‘locals only’ scene, meaning you’re never alone for long, even if you left your home town knowing no one. Back in Cornwall, I love that you always know someone in the water – there’s always someone to chat to, and it seems that conversations are started so much more easily in the sea! Surfers are (mostly) a friendly bunch and it’s refreshing to be in an environment where everyone is happy.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
When it’s not raining life for me is lovely! We live in a camper van in a farm yard and have done since we got back from The Alps at the start of lockdown. My boyfriend is a carpenter and he converted our MWB Peugeot Boxer from a water works van into a full on tiny house on wheels; complete with kitchen, little sink, double bed, pull out desk and little bookshelves which are stacked with stories and journals and plants. I’ll normally start the morning by rolling open the van door and drinking green tea overlooking the farm with Nica, my dog, and harvesting from our little vegetable patch. I had never grown anything pre-lockdown, and it’s been such a lovely distraction and way to spend our time. We try to grow as many of our own veggies as possible, and there are flowers popping up all over the place. We also have a cold water outdoor shower up here, so on really sunny days I can jump in that, or head to the beach for a swim to fully wake up. I’m self-employed and work freelance as a copywriter for businesses and proofreader for foreign brands. Corona virus meant that a lot of people focused solely on their online presence, and I wrote endless website copy, social schedules, blogs and articles for my clients. I have also recently had a lot of proofreading work for surf brands in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Indonesia! I can work from the van and have set up my little work station on my pull out desk. I’ll pop the coffee on and work until my brain needs a rest; then I’ll go for a surf if there are waves, catch up with friends or walk Nica, before returning to my desk and getting back on my laptop. In the evenings we just chill out. Cornwall is so crowded during the summer holidays and we’ll either try and find a secret spot for a swim by climbing down the cliffs, or light a fire and hang out on the farm. A family of very brave barn owls live next-door to the van and they are probably louder than us!
What is your favorite surf destination and why?
I’m constantly torn between Central America and Cornwall. I rekindled my love of the ocean in the warm waters of Nicaragua and El Salvador, where the sunsets turn everything golden pink and pelicans fly in undulating lines across the horizon, but my heart has always been in my home county – wild and wet and windy as it is! I’d give anything to go back to El Salvador, surf Las Flores, eat mangos off the trees and drink beers in a hammock on the beach, but I’m also totally content living in my van in Cornwall, growing my veggies, surfing secret spots and not getting savagely sunburnt!
What is your favorite surf spot?
You can’t beat our local breaks. I live in an area in Cornwall called the Seven Bays which is stunning. Due to the geography of the headlands and the directions in which the beaches face, we have seven beaches that all work on different winds, tides and swells. If it’s stormy you can head to one of the more sheltered coves, whilst when the offshore easterly’s blow and the waves are clean there’s a beach to suit each tide. The area of coast around it is protected so there are hardly any houses either. It’s a truly special place and I feel so lucky to be based here.
Anywhere you want to point our readers to?
Nearly every surfer is probably aware of the plastic pollution problem already, and the things we can do to help combat it, but if not there’s a couple cool local campaigns that I think are awesome. We have a #take3forthesea initiative in north Cornwall, which is the concept that every time you head to the beach, simply pick up at least 3 bits of rubbish. From plastic bottles to ghost fishing gear, there’s sadly, but definitely, always something to pick up, and it’s no effort to fill your pockets with beach litter when you’re out on a dog walk, heading back from a surf or just lying around on the sand for the day. For the protection of our beautiful oceans and marine life, it’s so important that we keep the beaches clean. A few other local projects working on this are Beach Guardian, which is run by a girl I went to school with, and Surfers Against Sewage, who have been in action for ages and organise huge beach cleans amongst other great projects.
Also, can I point people towards my venture or is that really cheeky?! If you need any copywriting for your website, social media content, original articles and blogs, or proofreading, you can check out my business, Lottie’s Words! My website is www.lottieswords.com or you can find me on Instagram and give me a shout – I’m always open to new projects and collaborations.
The ultimate wetsuit for every surfer