“I've got something to show you,” Matthew ‘Dimmer’ Deves lays a large cardboard envelope in front of Markie Lascelles, at the new Cord surfboard factory in Wheal Kitty, St Agnes.
Dimmer pulls open the top of cover. Inside are two mint condition prints of the first ever Wavelength Surf Magazine, printed in 1982. “Look at this,” he tells Markie, Cord's owner and head shaper. And – there he was, legendary surfer and Markie's father, Chops, who pushed harder to progress British surfing more than just about anyone else. He passed away 10-years-ago this year.
For the past two hours, Markie had been talking about his pops, the impact he had on him as a child and the legacy left behind. As of a couple months ago, Markie took over surf shop and coffee hang out joint, 'Open Surf', on that surf-focussed business hub in Aggie. Prior to that, it was a surfboard factory where Chops spent years expanding his board brands Beachbeat and Cord. It's where Markie and his brothers ran amock as groms, amongst all that inherent surfing knowledge.
“Talk about perfect timing,” smiles Markie.
“Yeah, a guy was selling them in Newquay, £35 for the two,” said Dimmer, one of Chops' oldest friends and Brit surfing pioneer. “The pages aren't even stapled yet.”
It was back in the early 2000s that Peter 'Chops' Lascelles opened his Laminations sufboard factory at Wheal Kitty, a small area over-looking St Agnes' stunning landscape. The area also houses marine protection organisation Surfers Against Sewage and eco-conscious clotheware brand, Finisterre.
Chops had moved to Aggie from north Queesnland in the late 70s, and built a reputation creating high-performance boards that were sold around the world. His imprint on British surfing is everywhere. Chops won multiple titles, coached the British and European surf teams and was instrumental in bringing brands like Rip Curl to UK shores. He died suddenly at the age of 60, just before he turned 61.
“Dad did a lot,” said Markie. “His door was always open and that's what we want to continue, that sense of community, to show we're all here, we're all doing what we can, to continue surfing. Keeping that legacy alive.”
Chops along with wife, Mary, brought up their sons, Markie, Sean and Brennan in St Agnes and were often seen around the Badlands, the nickname given by surfers for the collective area of Porthtowan, Aggie's Trevaunance Cove and Chapel Porth.
Markie grew up on the UK competitive circuit, but traded that in to travel the world.
Around six years ago, Mark Anderson snapped up Unit 3, creating 'Open Surf,' a hub for people to meet, shape surfboards, drink coffee or just hang out with a bunch of surfers. As of a few months ago, the opportunity came up for Markie to own the building.
“When dad died, I was only 23-years-old, no idea what I was doing. Could I have taken this on then – probably not,” he said. “And would I have wanted to if not for the history here, I guess not. But there's so much of my family in the walls. And we want to honour what Mark did too.”
A lot can change in those 10 years. Time has a funny way of shifting around priorities, of allowing people to step into themselves. Allowing relationships and bonds to form. Allowing legacy, the beating heart of business resilience, to figure itself out.
“I guess for some of those years, things were moving so fast and I was still grieving. Time made that better,” said Markie.
Walking through the narrow corridor between shaping bays at the now Cord/Beachbeat HQ is like a time capsule. Notes from visiting shapers are scrawled on the walls. The glassing area is pecked with colourful, resin off cuts from boards made who knows how long ago. The space isn't thrown together, it's one that's risen over time, built upon and iterated. It's bright, airy and a tight-knit crew are heads down.
Shapers like Simon Anderson and Neal Purchase Jnr have been guest shapers in these bays, hanging around to talk with the local community after.
“Things have changed, even as of as couple of years ago,” says Markie. “During the pandemic, we had back orders because we couldn't get the materials we needed, blanks, fin boxes, you name it. In a way, it's more stable now, orders are steady. Way less stress."
Markie's recently finished a house restoration in the next village over from St Agnes. “I guess I didn't expect to go from that, into having a factory,” he said. “But what was here before with Open was great. We want to make sure some of that remains, and put our own touches to it.”
One of Markie's main aims is to bolster the reputation of Cord. “Right now, we have Conor Maguire, Noah Lane and Lucy Campbell on the team,” he said. “They're great ambassadors, humble but pushing the limits in so many ways. Noah actually did a stint in the shop here years ago, we've known each other a long time.”
As for how Markie is prepping for the future: “Right now, we're still in that transitional phase. But hoping we can shift boards, put on movie nights, or even somewhere to watch a contest, like a Pipe night, beers in the fridge, door is always open. But all in time.”