I’ll never forget the day when I witnessed history in the making. Pip Saffieri was just your ordinary ice-cream man before he inspired a generation.
It was a fine day in Newquay, my 2nd day down in Cornwall and Pip was selling ice-creams in the humid sun to a long, sweaty, queue of upcountry tourists, when suddenly he stopped, stared out to the coast in a daydream, like he was confused, and then he closed the hatch of his ice-cream van.
Out of nowhere Pip emerged from behind his van wearing nothing but a knitted, woollen, swimming costume and said politely: “Sorry guys, that’s all for today.” I was outraged I was next in the queue to get one of his mint choc chips. Then immediately pulled out a massive trolley and then manhandled an at least 13ft long wooden surf board on top of the trolley. People were amazed; people were confused.
Pip pulled the trolley behind him all the way down to the shore. He took the board off the trolley and pushed it into the water. Five minutes later he popped up riding the waves like a Hawaiian God, floating back to the shore and shouted: “Ice-creams on me.” I remember Pip’s face, gleaming with happiness and pride. People that were gathered on the beach applauded him.
After seeing him surf like that I decided to start stand up surfing and follow Pip’s footsteps .