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07.02.06
Surf champion expands Beach Beat

Peter 'Chops' Lascelles (left) and graduate employee Toby White-ChambersA Cornwall-based surfboard designer who has sold his creations to artist Damien Hirst is taking advantage of groundbreaking technology to stay ahead of the competition.

Peter "Chops" Lascelles, himself a champion surfer, owns and runs Beach Beat. He is using the revolutionary computer technology to help build surfboards and to involve his customers in the process.

"I have embraced the new computer technology for designing/shaping surfboards by introducing it into a retail store on a 42" plasma screen which allows the public to actually participate in their own design. I believe this is a European first. I have also worked in conjunction with a Newquay firm Ocean Magic where the machine is based, in introducing this revolutionary shaping technology which allows me to be in constant touch with the production. I can do designs from wherever I am in the world as long as I can plug my laptop into the internet and send the design directly to the machine. From there they finish it at our Wheal Kitty factory. It is very versatile and can do all sorts of weird designs if required."

Mr Lascelles has been involved in surfboard design since the 1960s when he worked with the family business in Australia. He moved to Cornwall about 30 years ago and his company is now based at Wheal Kitty workshops, St Agnes.

His business has recently expanded into e-shopping and is offering another first via the Internet. The new website – www.beachbeatsurfboards.co.uk – will allow customers to design their own board online. This will be the first time this service has been available anywhere.

The web design and consequent business expansion plans came about with support from Unlocking Cornish Potential, a scheme that has received Objective One investment and places graduates with businesses. Toby White-Chambers is a surf science graduate who is responsible for setting up the e-shop.

Ben Leonard, UCP spokesman, said: "The project that Toby is undertaking is going to be invaluable to their future success. His drive and abilities will enable them to capitalise on the company's already excellent reputation and the high regard which Beach Beat is held in the market. The online shop that Toby is creating and will manage will be far more targeted and considered than many of the other 'online superstores' that are in existence and should reflect the quality driven approach of the organisation as a whole. UCP is tremendously excited to be supporting Toby and we wish him every success with the project."

Mr Lascelles has also been supported by actnow - a partnership involving British telecom and Objective One that has meant the roll out of high speed Broadband Internet access across this region.

From a one man band Mr Lacelles now has seven employees, rising to nine in the summer season. He sells from 800 to 1,000 surfboards a year and is hoping to expand even further. His most famous client is Damien Hirst who initially met Mr Lascelles during a fund raising project for Surfers Against Sewage. Mr Lascelles made two surfboards with Mr Hirst's designs on them that were auctioned to raise funds for the environmental charity. The whole auction raised tens of thousands of pounds.

"He recently asked me to make a couple more that he wanted to give as presents so I showed him how to work with the foam and what we can do and sent him six different designs," said Mr Lascelles. "I shape and he paints."

For further information please contact Clare Morgan on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Wheal Kitty Workshop Project and the actnow project through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Programme has also invested in the Unlocking Cornish Potential Project through the European Social Fund (ESF).

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Editor's notes:

The first phase of Wheal Kitty Workshops, where Peter "Chops" Lascelles is a tenant, was completed in 1997. Phase two has seen more than £1 million invested in transforming the Grade 2 listed Engine House, and the construction of new units providing flexible modern business accommodation. Phase Two has received investment from Objective One, Carrick District and the Isles of Scilly Councils and the South West Regional Development Agency.

UCP: UCP programmes place graduates with small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall and can last for up to 12 months. Investment in UCP through Objective One means that participating businesses receive 30% of the cost of taking on their graduate for the duration of the project. Graduates and their employers also receive support from an independent mentor, 70% of previous UCP graduates have been offered a permanent position with their host company at the end of the project. UCP was the first project launched by the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative to offer direct business support. It is managed by Cornwall College.

actnow: A £20 million project of which £6,920,818 came from the Objective One ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). Broadband operates at much higher speeds than a standard internet connection with consumer products typically 10 times faster and business products up to 40 times faster. Products can be ordered from a range of service providers. Project partners include Cornwall Enterprise, BT, Cornwall County Council, South West of England Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council, Business Link, Cornwall College, DEFRA and Objective One.

Peter "Chops" Lascelles won his first Queensland title in 1965 against great surfers including Wayne Deane and Paul Nielsen and has continued to compete since settling in St. Agnes taking English titles in both shortboard and longboard. Internationally, he has competed for England in two world championships placing equal 17th in Australia and surfed in two European championships placing 2nd. Chops was also responsible for introducing the current coaching system to the BSA and coached the last English team to bring home the European title. In 1999 Chops took the Hossegor Masters title at La Nord, in Hossegor, and continues to travel constantly.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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