beth leighfield noseriding on her longboard wearing a nuwave natural rubber wetsuit, photographed by bella bunce

How do top surfers spend their days? How do they structure their life and work around the waves and the tides, how do they stay at the top of their game, and what else do they do? As part of our occasional Day in The Surfing Life series we spent some time (on the day that our NuWave range of natural rubber wetsuits launched) with Cornish longboarder and C-Skins team rider Beth Leighfield, just as winter started to transition to spring.

Beth is one of the UK’s leading longboard surfers. She often competes in the events and festivals of longboarding’s culturally driven international scene, such as Mexi Log Fest in Mexico and Gliding Barnacles in Portugal, as well as events closer to home in the South West of the UK, like Smooth Movers at Godrevy or Spring Classic Festival in North Devon. Hailing originally from the northern reaches of Cornwall, around Bude, Beth studied in Falmouth and recently moved over to the North Coast, bouncing between the two coasts of Cornwall to find the best waves when the opportunity arises. Like almost all of us though, she has to fit surfing and surf trips around a regular job.

british longboarder beth leighhfield noseride wearing natural rubber wetsuit, photogrpahed by bella bunce
Beth on the nose on the South Coast, captured by Bella Bunce

“If I’m not surfing then I tend to roll out of bed as late as possible!” Beth jokes. From her home she can walk to check the waves. “I’m basically powered by cups of tea through the winter, so I’ll get up, have a cup of tea and then go for a quick walk to check the waves – or at the very least go for a quick walk just to get outside before I have to sit down at my computer.”

beth leighfield at her computer working as a sustainability consultant

Beth works as a sustainability consultant and a surf coach. Like a lot of desk-based roles since the pandemic years, her consultancy work gives her the opportunity to work remotely. Today that means the kitchen table in her calm and quiet home, but she sometimes heads to a shared workspace in Falmouth if she has plans to surf closer to there or meet up with friends after work.

beth leighfield loading her longboard into the back of her car

“There are two parts to my work” Beth explains as she boils the kettle for another cup of tea. “We do carbon footprint analysis of businesses – and that can be any type of business, from a manufacturing business through to a service business like an accountants. We also do it for events, so perhaps for a company that has people flying in from all over, we measure their carbon footprint of the event itself and the attendee’s travel. As part of that work we do a management plan so that the clients can get to work reducing their carbon emissions. The other part of what I do is around a sustainability framework for assessing different construction projects. We help developers and project managers to work through that to make the building as low-impact as possible. If they achieve the best rating then it would be comparable to Passivhaus.”

making a cup of tea

A lot of this work involves spreadsheet, online meetings and emails, so Beth makes the most of her lunch-break. “If I can get a quick power hour in at lunchtime, and run back so that I’m not away from my emails for too long, then I’ll do that.” Through the winter months in Cornwall, that might be her only chance to surf on a weekday. “Now that it’s starting to get light enough in the evenings though, I can also get in for another surf after work.”

surfer beth leighfield pulling a longboard out of the rack

As we head towards the summer, Beth is going to be transitioning to doing more surf coaching and less online work. “I work with a couple of the locally-based women’s surf companies – Surf Sistas and Gather & Glide. We do longboard weeks, and white-to-green courses coaching intermediate surfers. I really like that balance of being able to do a bit of coaching as well, and getting outside in summer. It’s a really nice way to get more women in the water, of all levels, and it fosters a really nice and welcoming community.”

longboarder beth leighfield with toes over the nose of her surfboard, by bella bunce
Beth flying past on the nose, wearing NuWave natural rubber. Photographed by Bella Bunce.

It’s not summer yet though, so the rest of Beth’s day is dedicated to carbon calculations, climate change risk assessments, and working to reduce the environmental impact of various businesses. It’s work that, whilst desk-based, is representative of a lot of her personal beliefs and values. Being in her mid-twenties, Beth has grown up in the shadow of the unfolding climate crisis, and her studies and career path are aimed firmly at doing something about it. It’s important work, and so as she settles back to work for the rest of the day we leave her to it.

longboard surfer beth leighfield wearing a c-skins nuwave natural rubber wetsuit

“Once I finish work, especially through winter when it’s too dark to surf, I really like to try and get away from my screen. Working behind a desk I spend most of my day staring at a laptop. It’s important for me to do something else so I normally do something social like meeting up with friends to cook a nice meal together, or just to go for a pint to disconnect from work and de-stress from the day. Or I’ll just read my book!” Now that the clocks have sprung forward and the lengthening evenings of British Summer Time are here, that book might take a little longer to finish as Beth will no doubt be rotating wetsuits on the washing line to get an evening sunset session in.

hanging wetsuits to dry on a washing line

Beth is a stylish surfer, but more than that she’s somebody who is driven by her values. In a world where surfers need to hold down jobs and have careers alongside their wave riding, Beth focuses her energies and makes every moment count, whether that’s in the water or at work.

Beth wears the Nuwave Solace 4:3 Womens Chest Zip Steamer

View The Full NuWave Range of Natural Rubber Wetsuits Here