Mordardh surf poetry

by Ella Walsworth-Bell in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom

We did it
On 17th September 2023 we successfully raised £466 with 19 supporters in 28 days

We've written a poetry book about surfers in Cornwall. We need your support to get it printed and to include photographs.

by Ella Walsworth-Bell in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

If we raise more, we will print more copies of our book. We may be able to include more photographs and it will be easier to ensure more libraries have free copies.

We are a group of seven women poets who have talked to surfers across Cornwall. In coastal communities, what brings people out - dressed in neoprene, board under arm - and gets them into the water? There must be some kind of magic in the waves. We explored how surfing gives us a kick; how breaking waves are ridden and how surfers benefit both mentally and physically.

Talking to surfers was the first step. Creating poetry in their words and voices was the second. Now we have enlisted marine photographer, Alice Bray, to gain a series of stunning images to enhance and add to the poetry.

We know we have a fantastic set of stories and we've also run a series workshops for surfers and writers who are interested in diving deeper into the world of poetry. This has ensured we connect with those who wouldn't usually think about poetry; we know they can be creative and we want to share their voices more widely.

Our book is at the editors and has benefited from Arts Council England support to ride the crest of our wave. We will be running live spoken word performance events across Cornwall: Newquay, St Agnes, Sennen, Falmouth, Penzance...we'll be there and we want to share.

For those who want a permanent print copy, we'd now like to raise further funds for print costs. We'll ensure that our 'Mordardh: Surf Poetry' books are placed in public libraries across the county, ensuring free access for all. 

We aim to benefit our communities in the following ways:

- Everyone is capable of creating art through poetry

- Inspire and empower local surf communities and individuals

- Bring new poetry to coastal towns through live spoken word performance from local poets

- Create a strong group of women poets who can engage with communities

- Utilise creativity for inclusivity: everyone is capable of enhancing mental and physical wellbeing through connection with the ocean, everyone is capable of creating art through poetry

-Create a sense of community cohesion through fun, innovation and affordable poetry workshops and events

-Encourage and promote art that lasts, by creating a print copy of our surfer's poems that will be available at local libraries and for sale.

Who is involved?

Megan Chapman AKA MCMC Spoken is a lyrical rhyming wizard. Her unique rhythmic style and cutting content offers a mesmerising performance. Her poetic and hip-hop delivery infused with beats strings and vocals is beautifully raw and captures humanity. 'surfing centres my world; mindfully offering daily happiness and freedom. The best part of everyday and for me it is life’s main reason.'

Ulrike Duran Bravo currently lives and works on Scilly. With an MA in Creative Writing, she writes both poetry and short stories, published in the Cornwall Writers anthologies and The London Review and she has had a short play performed at The Berry Theatre. From a mixed German-Chilean heritage, she's found her place swimming in cold Atlantic waters. 

Although she grew up in Australia, Fi Read caught her first wave in Cornwall. A surf-taxi mum, she figured she might as well join in, buying herself a secondhand surfboard for her fortieth birthday. Seventeen years later, she still surfs like a kook, despite three of her four kids being surf instructors. Nurse, bar staff, life model, singer and writer, Fi cycles everywhere and can back-flip into water. 

Hannah Temme is a spoken-word performer, dancer and producer based in Newquay. She works to create community spaces for the development of local poets and platforming of professional artists to cultivate an artistic scene on the North Cornish coast. Living in the surf capital of the UK, and a surfer herself, Hannah has used this project to explore how surfing is integrated into everyday life in Newquay, to some as necessary as breathing. 

Kerry Vincent is a mother of nine from Constantine, a little village between Helston and Falmouth. She has written rhyming, rhythmic verse since childhood, but her real love is performing spoken word. She has written a pantomime, plays, and had a collection of poetry published in 2009, as well as contributing to anthologies. 

Ella Walsworth-Bell is an NHS speech therapist working within children’s mental health. She took an adult education evening class in creative writing and hasn’t looked back since. Every year, she lives aboard a boat with her family and this reconnects her to nature. She got her trusty body board and fins out of retirement for this project. 

Alice Bray is a passionate visual storyteller. The focus of her work aims to inspire others by capturing human relationships with nature, in particular the ocean. Alice has grown up in the sea through surf lifesaving so it’s only natural her photographic work is based around a place she feels most attached to. A lot of her work is taken in the water where there is limited control of the changing environment, so she must adapt, work with nature, and capture the beauty that is happening in the moment.

Kate Barden has lived in West Cornwall all her life, and is embarrassed to confess that she has only tried surfing twice. Her poetry is published online, in a book for The Compassionate Friends and as part of Morvoren; a collaboration of poems about women who swim in the sea. Kate occasionally sings in an 80s covers band, collects tattoos, swims in the sea and rides pillion on a Harley. Since starting this project, she has decided to give surfing a proper go (dreckly).

Morag Smith was a Cornish poet and performer, her pamphlet, Spoil, was published by Broken Sleep in 2021. In her new book, Oceana, she writes about plastic pollution in the sea and how Clean Ocean Sailing are cleaning it up, reminding us we are also part of Earth’s water body.


‘poets eight: fascinate; surf’s their topic: allotropic; items: fifty; layout: nifty;

 but beware: rhymes are spare!’ – Ken George, Cornish Bard


'This anthology picked me up and carried me like my first wave, it spoke of fear, devotion and love. Most powerfully, it spoke of the sea in all her moods, words written by women for whom waves form the sometimes roaring, sometimes gentle, rhythm of their lives.' – Mike Lay, Editor of Wavelength surf magazine


'This is an exhilarating anthology of transformative poems inspired by surfing. The

poems are elemental and celebratory, full of affirmation and energy. The sea is the

patron saint of these surfer-poets, who find language fit to tell their thrilling tales. 

highly recommended anthology!'- Penelope Shuttle


‘A collection that captures beautifully the sheer thrill of catching a wave and what it means to be a surfer on this peninsula today in all its messy complexity.’ – Wyl Menmuir


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£9 or more

7 of 200 claimed

£9 Reward

Pre-order your own printed copy of the book ‘Mordardh: surf poetry’- estimated arrival time end September.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

You’ve pledged to support our project for the price of a couple of coffees- thank you. This will buy half of a library copy of ‘Mordardh: surf poetry’. All support is appreciated.

£9 or more

£9 Reward

Library copy - a print copy of ‘Mordardh: surf poetry’ will be donated on your behalf to a library in Cornwall so that the book is freely accessible to all.

£18 or more

7 of 200 claimed

£18 Reward

Pre-order two print copies of ‘Mordardh: surf poetry’ - one for you, one for a friend. Estimated delivery by end September

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