22 August | People

We chat to Tom Kay, founder of Finisterre - to discuss Land Rovers, Scottish islands and British influences.

Tom KayFor the latest in our regular series of interviews with modern-day adventurers, explorers and entrepreneurs, we took to a trip to the rugged North Cornish coast to meet Tom Kay, founder of FinisterreUp until 2002, the name 'Finisterre' was most famous for being an often-mentioned location in the BBC's Shipping Forecast, an impenetrable-to-laymen-but-strangely-soothing-all-the-same radio broadcast, which send important weather information to sailors and seamen out on the waves.

Birth of a great British brand
In 2002, the Beeb changed the name of the Finisterre region to Fitzroy. Meaning 'end of the land', Tom decided that Finisterre was the ideal name for his cold water surfing brand. Born from needs of hardy British surfers, the goal with Finisterre from the outset was to create functional and sustainable products with a strong sense of style, built for those that share his love of the sea. More than a decade later, the brand continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Scottish islands and Cornish coast
'I love anywhere remote by the sea,' says Tom. 'The outer Scottish Islands - that's probably my favourite spot for adventure in Britain - I love the fact that there are still these places off the beaten track if you look hard enough. When it comes to pubs - anywhere on the coast with views of the sea - they're the places I'll head to. There are lots of spots like that round here and if my 1972 Land Rover can get us there, even better.

'I've always loved the sea. I studied marine biology at university. But before I started Finisterre, I actually became a chartered surveyor first. Once I knew I wanted to start Finisterre, I went for it. My attitude to life is very much to try and go for things as much as I can, because it's short. For the same reasons my biggest inspirations in business and in life are people who are decisive, who have been bold and stuck to their guns.

'At the Finisterre workshop on the cliffs of St. Agnes, everyone has a real sense of drive and is committed to what we're here to do. But it's also about enjoying the sense of adventure, so when the weather aligns, you might find the team out there. It's the perfect setting for us to put our product through its paces.'

Family adventure
But even as his business continues to grow at a rate of knots, Tom is still planning adventures of his own. 'One day, I would like to sail around the world with the family. Just us, a boat, and the sea. And perhaps my 9ft sea trout fly rod and some boards. I think that would probably have to come along for the journey too,' says Tom. If his fishing is anything like his surfing, fish across the world should be worried.

Favourite Farer watch
Before we saddle up and head away from the charms of Cornwall, we ask our final, all-important question: which Farer watch is Tom's favourite? 'The Stark,' he says. 'Even though it's named after an incredible explorer whose adventures took her across the desert!'