A Surfer's Paradise

PUBLISHED: 15:15 18 August 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 20 February 2013

A Surfer's Paradise

A Surfer's Paradise

Hugo Tagholm, Director of Surfers Against Sewage, talks to Cornwall Life about his love for his role with the environmental group Surfers Agaisnt Sewage and for his love of Cornwall

A Surfers Paradise

Hugo Tagholm, Director of Surfers Against Sewage, talks to Cornwall Life about his love for his work with the environmental group and for the county

I took over as Director of the environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage at the tail end of 2008, which was a dream job come true for me. At the time I was already on the voluntary board of directors and had been involved with the organisation in some form or another since its earliest days back in the early 1990s, either as a member, supporting campaigner or, even once, by competing in their Surf To Save competition in Polzeath. So, I had a good base to start from and am now proud to run the organisation.

In my career, Ive worked for a number of charities, big and small, including the Stop Climate Chaos coalition and the Wildlife Trusts. For a number of years I also worked with the Prime Ministers wife, Sarah Brown, running her charity PiggyBankKids, set up to help save the lives of premature babies and create opportunities for underprivileged young people. So Ive gained invaluable experience and contacts over the course of my career, many of which now benefit SASs ongoing mission to protect the coastal environment and those who use it both in Cornwall and right around the country.

Im not sure there is really a typical day at Surfers Against Sewage for me, although contrary to many peoples ideas, unfortunately surfing isnt generally part of the working week for me, apart from the occasional lunchtime session! Running SAS and having a meaningful and impactful campaign means lots of hours in front of the computer, on the phone and running around the country to meet various supporters, sponsors, politicians and environmental stakeholders. We are of course a national organisation with passionate members right around the country, but the inspiration drive to set the campaign in motion came from passionate individuals in Cornwall, specifically the St Agnes and Porthtowan areas, which is the spiritual home of surfing in the UK. This local angle remains a critical part of what we do today and has been something were working hard to reinforce and build upon, and this is being replicated right around the coast with our regional representatives.

Surfers Against Sewage rents a splendid office in Wheal Kitty, St Agnes, which is of course an old tin mine complex overlooking the sea. What better place for a Cornwall-inspired environmental organisation! Its a very exciting year for SAS, 2010 being our 20th anniversary and our campaigns reaching more people than ever before. We have campaigns spanning much more than just sewage issues and we represent far more than just surfers in fact, we represent all those who love and use the UKs coast. From marine litter to climate change, from shipping to protecting the wave resource, were at the forefront of these issues today.

To get involved, the first step people can take is to have a look at our website, and hopefully become a member, as its our members that really make the campaigns such a success. The big question people are asking us at the moment is if we will be bringing back the SAS Summer Ball. Theres a big buzz about this happening again this year and with it being our anniversary its a serious consideration!

While originally from south-east England, over the course of the years I have spent a huge amount of time in the South West. Today, it is a pleasure to live and work in Cornwall, where I share my time in Truro and the surrounding area with my fiance, Sarah, and our young son, Darwin.

Truro is a lovely city and has some fantastic places to shop, eat and drink. From independent delicatessens and pubs, through to some more mainstream high street chains. It also has some lovely green space and riverside walkways. Darwin is a particular fan of Victoria Gardens, and has struck up quite a friendship with the park keeper, Dave, who we regularly meet riding on his miniature red tractor.

There are thousands of beautiful places to visit in Cornwall, and we have been fortunate to visit all sorts of attractions since we moved down permanently: Trelissick Garden, with its stunning views across the Helford; St Agnes (Trevaunance Cove), which is just one of the beautiful villages on the north coast; Chapel Porth, a personal favourite at low tides with exposed beach caves; the Lizard peninsula, Prussia Cove and many, many more. In fact, Sarah and I are getting married at Prussia Cove this March, so the South West will really be ingrained in our history. Surf-wise, Perranporth and St Agnes are great favourites of mine and only very recently I enjoyed some perfect waves at Porthtowan, which on its day can be world-class.

Ive always loved wildlife, in particular reptiles, and Cornwall is home to all the UKs species of reptile. Ive been lucky enough to see most of these, along with an abundance of other interesting animals. Ive heard Truro Cathedral is home to breeding peregrine falcons but Im most looking forward to my first basking shark sighting, which to date has unfortunately eluded me.

Weve made some great friends down here and Im inspired by the Cornish community and the maverick, independent spirits Ive come across on my travels around the county. Theres a very strong community spirit which were very much enjoying contributing to and becoming a part of.

For further information visit: www.sas.org.uk

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