interview conducted by Kate Prince
Tom Kay is the founder and managing director of cold water surf company Finisterre. The brand is committed to designing innovative products for cold water surfers around the world with products ranging from Merino underwear, base layers to insulation jackets, all with a strong environmental ethic and loved by non-surfers too. The brand started in Tom’s bedroom in St.Agnes and is now based in a workshop on the cliffs above St. Agnes and consists of a team of 14 (and 3 dogs).
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I get up and have a large glass of water … and try not being in so much of a rush that I cannot have a good stretch!
What do eat for breakfast?
I usually have Gluten free muesli and soya although I love scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee at the weekend.
What is your work place like?
It’s in a beautiful place; on the site of an old tin mine on the cliffs in St. Agnes, Cornwall. It’s an open plan office with boards and wetsuits, ready and waiting, by the door because we surf when we can. There are of the guy’s dogs running around too as well. I love it.
What do you eat for lunch?
Salad/fish if possible, we eat outside at the back of the workshop in the summer. Best effort was making some mackerel pate from mackerel that I caught and smoked!
Do you snack? If so, what on?
Yes, I have quite high energy levels so have to eat every few hours. Fruit and nuts but usually I need a hit of chocolate later in the day! Often a Freddo frog– does the trick…
What do you have for supper? and why
I tend to mix it up really – I like cooking so all kinds of things but my favourite things are Thai curry or fresh fish of some sort (Sea Bass caught by me, ideally!)
What is the healthiest thing you do every day?
I’m really lucky in that I can (and try to) surf or swim most days. Summer sea swims are awesome around here and a great way to switch off.
Why did you create Finisterre?
I wanted to create a cold water surf company that represented my passions and was committed to making innovative technical product for cold water surfers. Our products now range from Merino base layers and underwear to insulation jackets, hard-wearing shirts and knitwear. We’ve also resurrected a rare breed of British fine fibre sheep – the Bowmont – that is used in some of our products.
What is the most interesting thing about creating sports and outdoor clothing?
Coming up with really innovative product for our customers and being passionate about what Finisterre stands for – it’s committed to designing innovative product for cold water surfers with a strong environmental and ethical agenda.
What is your favourite piece of Finisterre clothing and which sport do you use it for?
I wear my Finisterre Merino long johns, most days; they are great to get into after cold surf or keep you warm on a cold day.
Which three celebrities (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner?
Mohammed Ali, Charles Darwin, Sienna Miller
Which three things can’t you live without?
My 1972 old Land rover, going into the sea when I can and my lovely dogs (Daisy and Beetle – golden retriever and flat coated retriever)
What gets you up in the morning?
Early surf or sea swim is always a good way to start the day.
And what do you go to bed thinking about?
Usually funny things that have happened that day
What is your motto for life?
This is it…