PENINSULA LIFE • OUR HERITAGE
Josh Hocking lives on his family's farm in Ilston right in the heart of the Gower Peninsula. Overlooking Three Cliffs Bay, the land is a patchwork of wood-clad buildings, open meadows and a hidden lakeside cabin. It’s a glorious combination of tranquillity and industry. Wetsuits hang drying in the breeze as the persistent hum of a sander blends with springtime birdsong. A hand carved sign hangs above the newly finished showroom whose walls are lined with freshly polished custom longboards.
Gower born and bred, Josh was taught to surf by his dad, Steve Hocking. Steve has been surfing since the early 70s and initially started shaping surfboards. Before long, it developed into a father-son duo and in 2015, Shocking Surfboards was born with Josh spearheading the brand. With an unmistakable and unique style, his longboards are regularly seen in the lineups around Gower and beyond. We caught up with Josh to find out what fuels his passion for shaping.
“So I started shaping initially with my Dad for about a year or two. Then as I started to develop and grow the brand I took it on and launched Shocking Surfboards almost 10 years ago. Sometimes I have a bit of help sanding, but I mostly do everything myself; just one pair of hands seeing a board through from start to finish. They tend to range from shorter boards to 10 foot plus longboards. Although, I predominantly like making longboards just because they’re the type of boards I like to ride.
Initially I started shaping because I found it really hard to communicate exactly what I was looking for in a board to a shaper. So instead of trying to translate the feeling I was looking for, I thought I’d make them. This helped me test out what really works for me and grow a different style of surfing that wasn’t really seen much on Gower at the time. I feel like there’s been such a growth of the old 60s and 70s traditional style which really seems to suit the waves around here. Although performance longboards are great, I just prefer this style of riding.
I’ve been here on Gower all my life, so almost 28 years and I do what I do because I love to make surfboards. That is all I want to do pretty much all of the time, other than surfing. Through what I do I can amplify the longboarding scene on Gower and watch it grow. I’m excited to see where it’s going to see where it’s going to go.
Longboarding is just the best! I love the feeling of noseriding and the style of logging as a whole as everything is slowed down. It’s those smaller movements that can often be the most stylish and can feel so epic being above a wave.
There is nowhere I'd rather be than here. There are so many breaks in one small space, it’s such a surf heaven. In one beach like Langland there are 7 breaks in that one bay! It’s just one big peninsula that offers so much. You have the whole way around the coast from Swansea all the way around the North Gower and Llanmadoc; tiny little coves to huge open beaches like Llangennith, there are just so many places to explore and surf. I just don’t think you get anything like this anywhere else in the world really. It’s pretty amazing.
I really enjoy making boards for other people and watching how happy it makes them. The most exciting part of shaping is when I finish a board and hand it over to the person it's for and they’re stoked. The fact that I get to do this for a living is pretty sweet!”
Josh spends most of his time in his workshop, shaping and sanding boards. Except on days when the swell is pumping, you can catch him stepping up and down his board at Three Peaks or Langland. We asked Josh to describe his life on Gower in three words:
Fun . Adventurous . Unique
Josh opened his new showroom in late September of 2023. If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth a visit. You’ll be greeted by the fresh smell of fresh paint and chipboard walls lined with Longboards of various sizes, a selection of fins and his new range of merch.