The things you missed at the UK’s SEED Surf conference

Cake isn’t necessarily a necessity for life, but when it comes to conferences, personally I think it’s imperative. The third annual SEED Surf Conference (Social, Economical, Environmental and Developmental) took place in Newquay last Saturday and in amongst its many good-conference qualities, it had cakes worthy of recognition.

You might be thinking, “Who is this fool waffling about cake?” Well I’m a surfer who fervently believes it embodies an enjoyable shared experience, and it facilitated this meeting of likeminded surfers splendidly whilst oiling the social machine. And our arteries.

Surfers Against Sewage founding member, Chris Hines MBE (main image), opened the conference as he did last year, with a strong message and strong sense of humour.

He spoke about respect; to the environment, to each other and to other surfers in the water but also encouraged the use of the ‘OK’ hand sign in the line-up, to call people out on their rudeness and imply they might be compensating for something…

Double vision: Sam Bleakley spoke of his current projects including his longboard travel guide Image: Kaitlin Flood

On a more series note, Sam Bleakley shared two of his most recent projects; taking us in film to China and Liberia where he explored how surfing is helping to rejuvenate Hainan’s ocean culture, and rebuild the coastal communities of Liberia following their harrowing civil war.

In the film, Sam reconnects with the grown men he’d met as children in 2004, who’d lived through the conflict to tell their story. Sam spoke of his desire to return to Africa, as the Ebola crisis hit just after he’d left.

Jeremy Goffin from the University of Lincoln then brought us firmly back down to British soil, by speaking about his art and design experiences of living in the North East of England. Hailing from a home-break of “naturally brown waters”, Jeremy’s work explored the inspirations of cold-water surfing and encouraged us to think of our own personal surfing utopia.

The inspiration and healing of our sport was a key theme to the day, as Joe Tailor from the Wave Project went on to describe how surfing can open the doors to happiness; positive functioning, resilience, mindfulness and empathy.

David Smith from Surfers Against Sewage also reinforced surfing as being a force for change by starting his talk with the quote about their growth; “Not just surfers, no longer just sewage”. Now a parliamentary player, SAS is a driving force in the UK’s enviro-surf movement.

Drift's Anya Gilbert speaks with

Drift’s Anya Gilbert speaks with Severiano Tiberi about a new sea-safety campaign. Image: Kaitlin Flood

Severiano Tiberi and I spoke about our new, national sea-safety education campaign in partnership with Surf Lifesaving GB and Cornwall College, called the Safety Education Awareness Student Project (SEAS).

Our team of FdSc Surf Science and Technology students and lifeguards are aiming to educate children in Primary schools nationally, about basic sea-sense and how to keep themselves and others around them safe whilst at the beach or the coast.

Image: Kaitlin Flood

Image: Kaitlin Flood

Teacher, Riky Martinez and Adam Porter from Hemlock Surf made us think about our own responsibility to think and buy with environmental consideration, by showing their own latest developments in eco-surf hardware, including a surfboard with a core made entirely of wine corks.

Congratulations to the students of Cornwall College for another fantastic event. More information and interviews with the speakers can be found on their facebook page.

And a special thank you to Short And Sweet for satisfying my own personal conference-cake requirements.