The Breaking Barriers Issue
Tom Kay, Finisterre
“Humber, Thames, Dover. South or southwest 3 or 4, increasing 5 at times. Showers, thundery for a time in Humber, becoming fair later. Good, occasionally moderate.” For those who haven’t lived in Britain, these disparate words and numbers may sound cryptic. But for many who have, the BBC’s shipping forecast — broadcast via radio four times a day so folks at sea can stay up to date on nearby wind speeds, weather, and visibility conditions — is iconic.
Tom Kay, the founder of outdoor clothing brand Finisterre, has fond memories of the shipping forecast. “It was and is something that’s really important to me, especially growing up. In my parents’ car, I remember the romantic way the forecast was read, hearing about weather conditions miles off at sea while I was safe and warm. But the shipping forecast is there to save lives; so fishermen and trawlermen are aware of storms.”
Although Tom didn’t grow up to be a fisherman, he did spend quite a lot of time in Britain’s cold, biting waters: When everyone else his age was getting into music, film, or football, Tom was out surfing. In his twenties, his love for surfing inspired a move from his coastal home county of Norfolk to Cornwall, the epicenter of British surfing. Specifically, Tom landed in St. Agnes, a large village on the north coast of Cornwall, an ideal spot for being out on the water as it produces medium- to large-sized swells.