Christmas Down Under, With Surfboard Santa

Nov 05, 2021by Gabby - F&F

There's no doubt in our minds that the weeks leading up to Christmas are nothing less than busy. That's an understatement really! Between, many trips back and fourth to the shops, organising who's house is hosting, to what food you're having, creating a presents list, getting decorations, and the list goes on! More often than not, it's easy for us to get caught up with the excitement of Christmas and forget about the little things, such as Christmas being a time for giving.  

We love seeing members from our community making a difference over Christmas. In fact, we catch up with Kevin Heppell, also known as Surfboard Santa who helps his community by donating surfboards to the less fortunate every Christmas. 

Kevin Heppell aka Surfboard SantaKevin Heppell aka Surfboard Santa

Meet Kevin Heppell aka Surfboard Santa

Kevin started buying and donating surfboards back in 2016 and hasn't looked back since.

"Being not married and no children I felt that if I could help someone at Christmas it would be a great gesture. So I decided I would buy and donate a board to help someone less fortunate. It would also encourage a healthy lifestyle by getting kids into surfing and a love for the ocean," said Kevin. 

As a valuable member in his community, Kevin has also inspired others do something similiar. "One of the guys I worked with in WA now does the same thing with guitars," Kevin shared.

Second Hand SurfboardsSecond Hand Surfboards

What's The Process Like?

Kevin searches on secondhand sites likes eBay, Gumtree and Marketplace for reasonable boards at as cheap as possible.

The steps are as followed:

  1. Purchase board
  2. Remove all wax and fully clean down.
  3. Identify all areas requiring repairs. Decks, bottoms, rails, nose, tail and fin plugs. 
  4. Sand and grind areas for repair.
  5. Carry out repairs using fibreglass, resins, pigments, Q cells..... whatever is needed.
  6. Sand repaired area and repeat if required.
  7. Cover with gloss coat of resin
  8. Sand with wet and dry the gloss coat so it matches surface finish of the rest of the board
  9. Polish (if required) and inspect board entirely.
  10. Take pictures, fit fins, tailpad, leash and put board in bag.
Surfboard SuppliesSurfboard Supplies

Where Do You Get Your Supplies?

Kevin gets his supplies for repairing surfboards from the leftover boards he has already made or some resins and chemicals are donated by local businesses. Fins, bags, tailpads and leashes are bought from Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay.

Kevin uses all the money from recycling cans and bottles with Return & Earn, towards repairs for the boards. Such an awesome effort right? Whilst working in WA some workmates are kind enough to donate a $20 or $50 to help out too. Nicola Atherton from Bondi Rescue also donated some boards last year, which was super cool, said Kevin.

Depending on the conditions of the board and the repairs required, Kevin could take anywhere from 2-3 hours for a clean and polish to 10-15 hours grinding and sanding.

Backyard OfficeBackyard Office

Where Do You Work On The Surfboards?

Kevin works on the surfboards in his backyard and shed.

Fun Fact — Kevin originally donated brand new surfboards. He then figured it would be cheaper to buy second hand ones and fix them up. Kevin worked out he could fix up to 5-6 boards for the price of one single brand new one. Kevin estimates that for all parts he would be paying roughly $750 to fix up all 5-6 and the total worth when completed and packaged would reach somewhere between $1500-1800.

We are super impressed to see how Kevin adds some extra love to second hand and run down surfboards that still hold excellent use.

Who Do You Give The Surfboards to?

Once Kevin has finished repairing the surfboards he works with his mate who is a president of 2 sporting clubs, (one of which is a boardriders club) and is in contact with hundreds of families. 

Kevin's mate sees and hears stories firsthand of unfortunate families and children effected by hardship, deaths in family, parents with addictions and just pure bad luck. "I've heard many of the stories and am grateful that I can help," says Kevin.

Surfboard Santa has had the surfboards on his sleigh, travelling all the way from the shire, to manly and even WA. 

It's so amazing to see people who are all about community and helping others. 

It's been a tough year, so it's so great to see people in our communties giving back where they can. 

We hope this has inspired you to bring out your hobbies and do something great for your community too. 

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