Cornish based endurance athlete, lifeguard and painter Ollie Shilston takes us from dawn till dusk in his corner of the world…
Interview SUP Magazine // Photos Richard Davis
(This feature originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of SUP International. Print and digital subscriptions for readers worldwide are available HERE.)
I live near Hayle in Cornwall, UK, five minutes away from Godrevy my local beach. We’ve had lots of days recently with easterly winds which is great for Godrevy and the Hayle stretch. The water is still so cold so surfing Standup makes getting in the water more pleasurable. I have just got back from my honeymoon in Peru that conveniently coincided with the World Standup Paddleboard Championships in Lima, though I’m not sure my lovely wife saw it that way!
The competition went well for me despite the equipment I had to use. For anyone who doesn’t know, trying to travel with 12’6 race boards isn’t the easiest of things. This meant I had to hire one out there. The 24k distance race was brutal; it took place in dense fog and was hard going on the heavy hire board against others on their light weight carbon ones. I think I held my own and came a respectful 12th.
I really enjoyed the technical style of racing, the large waves made it exciting for the competitors and spectators. I came 14th in this race and was a little disappointed not to make the top ten. I guess I just didn’t get much luck with the waves. A typical morning for me always starts with a cup of tea! Then it’s out the door for an early morning swimming session or if the waves are good I will go for a surf. Then it’s home for a bowl of porridge and another cup of tea, and off to work. My favourite place to surf is the Hayle stretch. Whatever the wind and swell direction there’s something to do in the water. I love the fact that I live so close and in the winter I quite often drive down in my wetsuit to avoid changing in the cold. Since I finished long distance running competitively I have been trying to concentrate on get in the sea more and doing the things I really enjoy. All the equipment I have means I can pretty much get in the water whatever the conditions…
5’10 Channel Islands fishcuit
5’11 Channel Islands Gravy
5’10 Jim Banks quad
6’1 DHD Mick Fanning model
6’2 Resin-ate Tokoro
18ft long distance Molokai racing paddle board
9’8 Surftech surf SUP
12’6 JM Surftech racing SUP
12’6 Gerry Lopez racing SUP
3 meter inflatable boat
I’m really excited about getting my new carbon race board from Surftech soon. I currently work for the RNLI beach lifeguard service as a beach lifeguard supervisor. I am part of a team that looks after 70 lifeguards on both the north and south coast of west Cornwall. It is a rewarding, fun job working outdoors on some beautiful beaches. I love being out and about and working with a young, lively group of people. I’ve always enjoyed painting. I started off painting for birthday presents and recently I have gone on the sell a few. I like to paint things that have meaning to me, I try to put my little twist on things. I recently painted a picture of our wedding venue and had it printed on the invites. I would love to do more painting.
“ I have just got back from my honeymoon in Peru that conveniently coincided with the World Standup Paddleboard Championships in Lima, though I’m not sure my lovely
wife saw it that way! ”
Evenings are generally a low key affair in our house. After work, it’s dog walking time with Maddie our springer spaniel and in the light evenings hopefully another training session or surf. During the summer I quite often train at the lifesaving club in Portreath. There’s a good crew of people and plenty of banter. I would love to say I’m a great cook but I’m not. George my lovely wife is though and she does the majority of the cooking in our house. Lately we’ve been having lots of sausage, mash and peas with gravy.
I’m one of the worst drinkers around and rarely drink but I do love going for dinner at the Salt Bar in Hayle with some friends. There’s always a good atmosphere in there. Then before bed it’s a quick check of the conditions for the morning, a saffron bun and Match of the Day! SUP