Lemon Quay, Truro

Surf Kernow – A Greener Wave for Surf Fashion in Cornwall

Surf Kernow founder Greg Matthews talks about the inspiration and ethics behind Cornwall’s new sustainable fashion brand.

I love surfing and I love Kernow.

This should be enough to explain why I started designing under the name ‘Surf Kernow’ a few years ago. But there’s more to the brand than that …especially as, getting older, I’ve increasingly turned into something of a fair-weather surfer, at best!

Whilst that incomparable exhilaration of riding a wave is the reason I love to surf, it’s not the reason I love surfing. In fact some of my favourite days have been spent just watching from a cafe or bar, or standing on the beach taking photos of other surfers riding the sort of waves that scare the hell out of me.

I love surfing because of all the intangible stuff that goes with it. The sound of the ocean, that feeling of floating, the sight of the horizon, and the breathtaking sunsets. The people, the culture, and the oh-so-many good times!

That’s what I’ve tried to capture in my designs. But it’s also important that the whole brand reflects who I’ve become along the way.

Simply put, it’s difficult for anyone to become a surfer – to have that physical connection to the natural world – and not also become something of an environmentalist.

We share an unusually close relationship with the environment and a greater awareness of what harms it: The plastic trash on our beaches during the summer months; the dreaded ‘brown waves’ from sewage released after a heavy autumn or spring downpour; and of course, the increasingly stronger and more destructive winter storms caused by a rapidly warming climate.

That’s why I felt a responsibility to have environmentalism built-in at the core. No toxic pesticides used by our cotton suppliers. No water pollution from dyeing. All manufacturing powered by renewable energy. All freight transported by sea rather than air.

I was also determined not to create ‘yet another surf label’ churning out cheap t-shirts at an inflated price, without a care for the poorly-paid workers who make them.

Which is why all Surf Kernow clothes carry the Fair Wear logo for ethical production. So you can be sure that every person involved, at every stage, has the same rights, commensurate rewards, and safe working conditions as you’d expect for yourself.

Being able to offer all of that is something I’m genuinely stoked about!

So if you’ve got any surf-loving loved ones in mind this Christmas, why not help them wrap up snug in a super-soft hoodie? Or keep the rain at bay with an organic cotton baseball cap?

Show your Kernow pride and share some eco-friendly surf love at the same time!

Check out the full range of t-shirts, hoodies, and caps online at shop.surfkernow.uk or via SurfKernow on Facebook and Instagram.