Jack Day is Living Low Velocity
Have you noticed how everyone’s always in such a hurry these days? Maybe that’s always been the way, but things seem to be moving faster than ever right now.
Fast fashion and fast food, politicians playing fast and loose with the truth, corporations looking for a quick buck… But are we moving in the right direction? With the planet struggling to keep up with mankind’s frantic levels of busyness, maybe it’s time for a change of pace.
Jack Day is a 26-year-old surfer and shaper who lives in Newquay, five minutes’ walk from his front door to Fistral Beach. Globe, one of our favourite footwear and clothing brands, recently hit the brakes and took a swerve into left field, under the rubric of its “Living Low Velocity” collection. Premium threads made with care using planet-friendly materials and processes (organic cotton, bleach-free dyes, PVC & phthalate-free screen print inks, etc). Built to last.
They go together rather nicely. We spoke to Jack, who grew up working on farms in Somerset, about the daily rhythms and slow metabolism of the shaping bay.
All photos by Toby Butler.
Talk us through an average day in the life of… er… Jack Day.
An average day will start with me waking up around 6:30, taking the dog out for a walk and grabbing a coffee en route to a morning wave check. If the waves are on I would usually jump in for a surf for a couple hours before heading up to work. I spend my mornings in the shaping bay on new orders, then head to Seabase to grab new blanks, materials etc before heading back to the bay for an afternoon of glassing. Then I’ll finish up around 5ish and try and sneak in a late dusk session before heading home and getting ready to do it all over again.
How long have you been shaping? What initially appealed to you about it?
I’m pretty new to the industry, I’ve only been working and shaping in it for around 3 years. I think I was really drawn to the creativity, there’s no real other sport where you can create your own equipment and then use it day to day. The idea that I could come up with an idea in my head and make it into a functional object is pretty cool. The first handful of boards I made I enjoyed the building process way more than the actual time I spent on the board. It’s kind of like a bug – once you’ve got it you don’t want to stop. Then exploring different aspects in board-building like flex, different materials, colours, outlines, rockers, rail profiles… you end up down a rabbit hole, which I think is one of the most enjoyable places to be on a board-building journey.
What does “living low velocity” mean to you?
Living low velocity has a big part to play in my work. I’m a big believer that quality can’t be rushed. Taking your time with each aspect of the build is vital – every step affects every other step, so you need quality at each stage. This has progressed into my personal life, with not wanting to feel pressured by deadlines and taking a slower, more relaxed approach to each and every day. I feel like my move to Cornwall really cemented this with the switch of jobs – I’m now pushing my creativity yet slowing down to enjoy each day rather than working/living for the weekend.
How much time do you take over each board?
It really varies depending on the board. The lead time always ensures I have plenty of time not to rush the process. I have a range of models I’ve shaped a lot of, so muscle memory comes into play and I can create these boards faster and feel comfortable doing so. But with new models or R&D boards I like to shape and then re-visit them a week or 2 later before taking them into glass – this gives me time to step away and reassess with a set of fresh eyes. Living in a world where big production lines account for most of the world’s products, creating something by hand from start to finish really allows me to get a sense that I’m giving the customer a custom craft that can’t just be bought off a shelf or added to a basket on Amazon.
Conventional surfboard materials aren’t amazing for the environment… do you have any thoughts on how surfboards can become more sustainable?
I find it’s an interesting conversation whenever the word “sustainable” comes into the surf industry. There are many companies out there greenwashing and claiming that their product is fully sustainable. My 2 cents is that there aren’t really any sustainable materials out there on the market currently – sure there are materials that are better for the environment but not 100% sustainable. I think if people are asking themselves how they can have a smaller carbon footprint, when it comes to the surf industry, high-quality products is where they should be looking.
As surfboard development has progressed boards have become smaller and lighter. But they have only got here by using weaker materials that don’t stand the test of time and don’t match the durability of boards produced prior to this. If you were to look at boards from the 70s when blanks were heavy with heavy strong glass, how many of those boards still exist 50 years on? But if you were to buy a board of the shelf today you would be lucky for it to see you two years of good use before it was ready for the skip. I think a redirection needs to be taken towards top quality materials to ensure longevity of the boards produced. This isn’t necessarily a brand-new idea as there are loads of board-builders already taking this approach around the world. To finish up I think if you are wanting to do your bit and are conscious of the impact the industry has, maybe don’t spend that money on Australian/Californian import. Go to a local shaper, use the best materials, support a local business, and make that board last.