TV presenter and architectural designer CHARLIE LUXTON talks about his lifelong love of surfing, his attachment to Cornwall and the television series of Homes by the Sea. Interview: Alex Reece
I was born and brought up in Sydney, Australia – I lived there until I was 10 – so I grew up going to the beach once or twice a week and body-boarding from a very young age. Then we moved to Buckinghamshire, in the middle of England, almost as far from the sea as you can get.
But soon I started windsurfing, and I was going down to West Wittering and Hayling Island to go wave-sailing from the age of 14 to 18. Then when I was about 19, all my windsurfing kit was nicked at a competition and I thought, ‘I can’t afford a new kit, I’ll just get a surfboard instead.’ So I started surfing again – and I have been ever since.
I mainly surf in Cornwall. I surf on Mawgan Porth Beach a lot – I love Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay, Constantine Bay and Harlyn. That’s my favourite stretch. I’ve just bought a house down there with my brother. We bought a little barn – a shed, really – at auction two years ago, and we’re finishing doing that up at the moment. Our house is near Bedruthan Steps, which is probably one of the most beautiful beaches, I would argue, in the country. We go down there all the time with the kids. They’re seven and nine, and they’ve just started surfing.
Our coastline is very undeveloped, which is one of the great things about it – you can walk along almost any part and find large areas with no housing. The downside is that a lot of the coastal architecture is only just getting into the groove of what’s possible. But it’s certainly getting there now.
For the second series of Homes by the Sea, we’ve been to different parts of the coast: to Cornwall, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, and Dumfries and Galloway. It’s all pretty stunning. I’d love to live by the sea to surf more regularly, but we get down to the coast often (from Oxfordshire), so I can’t complain. I like to surf all year round – in fact, it’s better in winter: more waves, fewer people and you don’t have to pay for parking!
'Our coastline is very undeveloped, which is one of the great things about it – you can walk along almost any part and find large areas with no housing'