Exhibition in Devon focuses on the surf hotspots of Cornwall and looks at its impact on the natural world.


Surf culture is widely considered to embody a deep connection with nature, both by its subscribers and those outside of it. Yet, the chemicals used to produce non-degradable wetsuits, surf boards and other hardware, the air and land miles travelled in search of waves, and the many isolated cultures and habitats invaded by surf tourism, have all caused the multi-billion pound industry to impact considerably on the natural world.

Within the UK, the issues at hand are particularly relevant for North Devon and Cornwall. Its coastline, which is largely bordered by unspoilt and protected countryside, is hugely popular with the international surfing community for the mild air and water temperature, consistent Atlantic swells, offshore winds, and the frequent sighting of marine wildlife such as dolphins and seals. Watergate Bay, Sennen Cove and Croyde Bay in particular, rank among the world’s official surfing hotspots and have given rise to top British surf champions and competitions over the years.

Beyond the Board is an exhibition devised and developed by innovative Devon art space White Moose based in Barnstaple, North Devon, only a few miles from Croyde Bay. Guest curated by emerging Devon artist Dawn Olive, the exhibition uniquely juxtaposes the bright and the dark side of surfing through the work of a handpicked selection of South West based artists who all have first-hand experience of the physical and psychological impact of surfing. A first of its kind, the exhibition will offer an alternative view to the familiar imagery of blue seas, golden sands and surfers in acrobatic poses, and takes an honest look at what lies beneath the surface of this romanticized sport.

“The phrase beyond the board’ represents the entirety of the experience of being a surfer; the very first step into the ocean; the moment surfing becomes a state of mind when the body no longer has the ability to paddle through the waves; the collective but unspoken awareness of surfers about their deep yet problematic relationship with nature.”

Dawn Olive, guest curator, Beyond the Board.

The Beyond the Board artists are: Ben Cook, Sophie Everard, Simon Ledson, Pete Newell, Dawn Olive and Ryan Ward.

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Beyond the Board Gallery: White Moose Dates: Thu 7 August to Saturday 20 September 2014.

Open Mon – Sat, 10am – 5pm Entry is free