Many people have built surfboards in the woodshed over the last 10 years and enjoyed the peaceful rural vibe and beautiful surroundings of Cape Point. I often feel very lucky to live and work where I do.
The thing about living and working in a natural and undeveloped environment that gets very hot and dry in summer is that every now and then there’s a fire. A big one.
The Great Christmas Fire of 2023 burnt in the wild mountains around us for three days before it came directly at us, driven by a gale force south easterly wind.
It blackened everything around us and swept over and through the workshop. It was so ferocious that a month later I still can’t quite believe how my wooden surfboard shack didn’t get burnt to the ground.
It’s hard to imagine a more flammable structure; not only is it made of wood, but after shaping wooden surfboards in it for nearly 10 years it is permeated with sawdust, and there’s piles of wood offcuts everywhere.
The fire was so close. Large trees outside the back door where aflame. In particular, the beautiful apple tree was browned and has lost its crop. There’s even parts of the shack that were clearly alight, in particular two spots where wooden beams were charred. Somehow the fire never spread to the rest of the structure.
This is not the first time that fire has come incredibly close. In 2018, a similar wildfire threatened the shack. It was only some strategic helicopter water bombing and a nearby fire truck that saved the day, together with extensive watering down and putting out of flareups. Again, fire was on the doorstep and the shack could easily have burnt down.
The 2023 fire somehow seems like more of a miracle. There were no fire-fighters on site in this fire and it came at us so quickly and violently that there was hardly any time to put up a fight. We just had to leave everything and hope for the best, although I was convinced that there was no way my workshop would be there by morning. A month later and I still can’t believe it.
All of this means only that the miracle wooden surfboard shack still stands. Make-your-own ride wooden surfboard workshops will continue, and I’ll be making wooden surfboards non-stop, as usual. Here’s to another 10 years of wooden surfboard workshops and making boards. No more fires please!