21 December 2023

Kids need a creative outlet? Check out these Kook-y workshops at Kiama Pavilion

| Zoe Cartwright
Start the conversation
A smiling man helps a small child draw on a surfboard

Mat King loves sharing the stoke of creativity with groms big and small. Photos: South Coast Kook.

If you have no idea what to do with the kids after weeks of school holidays, Kiama dad Mathew King might be able to help you out.

He’s holding South Coast Kook skateboard design workshops at Kiama Pavilion for 12-24-year-olds on Thursday, 11 January, and Monday, 29 January.

The workshops give kids the chance to express their creativity and design their own artistic skateboard deck.

The idea for South Coast Kook came when Mat copped a redundancy the day his daughter was born.

The fifth-generation coalminer had spent his whole career underground, working shifts, and providing for his family.

“I took the chance to become a stay-at-home dad, and it’s 100 per cent the best thing I ever did,” he said.

“It was scary at the time, and I got a lot of kickback, all the cliches about providing for your family.

“But my wife loves what she does, she’s super supportive and we decided to put lifestyle second and our family life first.”

Keen to keep his mind ticking while at home with a small child, Mat took his favourite hobby and turned it into a podcast, South Coast Kook, where he interviews local surf scene legends, mining their experiences for nuggets of wisdom.

READ ALSO Swell of support as Surfing the Spectrum hits Port Kembla

Ideas about reducing waste and improving mental health were percolating in his brain, and after he met Danny Smyth, from SurfPaints, they came together.

“I just want to give back to the sport, and in the short amount of time I’ve been surfing, a heap of boards I’ve had have become no good,” he said.

“I wanted to do something better with them than throw them in the tip.

“Then with my daughter, when it was raining for about a year straight, I needed activities to do with her inside.

“She loved sitting in the garage painting and connecting and I thought we could do this with the community, repurposing old surfboards and turning them into art.”

A big part of the South Coast Kook ethos is the idea that you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.

“I am a terrible surfer and I can’t draw, but I enjoy every second I’m in the water and I know the value of sitting down and having a doodle for your mental health,” he said.

Half a dozen small children work on a brightly decorated surfboard

South Coast Kook repurposes old surfboards, turning them into blank canvases for kids – and adults – to express their creativity.

Mat now runs workshops everywhere from music festivals to daycares.

He cleans up old boards and encourages kids – big and small – to turn them into works of art.

The program has expanded to include used skateboard decks, and this year Mat ran a workshop at Splendour in the Grass, where he said a quiet space to draw was the perfect antidote for kids overwhelmed by the crowds and noise.

“Kids love it because it’s a bit naughty, you’re not meant to draw on things that aren’t paper,” he laughed.

“I think because they’re not clean cut it invites people to experiment, especially if they don’t draw often.”

READ ALSO: Kiama’s new wine bar brings a twist to the traditional dining experience

The school holiday workshops are made possible by Kiama & District Stronger Community.

Thanks to the NSW Regional Youth Government Grant, the workshops are free and include a skateboard blank, SurfPaints pens, sketchpad, pencil, tracing paper, and additional resources for the design process.

To register, email [email protected].

To book a workshop, or donate an old board, head to: Surf Podcast and ‘Paint a recycled surfboard workshops’, The South Coast Kook.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.