Mutant Cornwall

Cornwall is a haven for surfers, so what better place to develop an eco-friendly surf wax made from beeswax from Cornish bees. Joe McDonald, a graphic artist and avid surfer, came up with the idea to mix beeswax with pine resin from Spanish trees to create an environmentally friendly surf wax.

Joe had an idea to design some T-shirts and related eco products for surfers, which led to him creating the unique surf wax called Mu-grip.

Mutant Cornwall was born and is now a thriving brand endorsed by Surfers Against Sewage. Mu-grip is a natural product using beeswax from bees that are kept locally by Joe and his business partner Mags. Running an ethical business with environmentally friendly products is at the heart of everything they do.

Mu-grip is completely natural which disperses into the sea. Joe spent a year developing the product. “I tried lots of different mixes. The key is getting it just right, not too sticky,” Joe says. He tried many different formulas and used the surfing community to test it and give feedback.

Testimonials on the Mutant Cornwall website show how popular it is with surfers:

My mate gave me a block of your wax. I was completely dubious about whether it would work or not having used [another eco brand] in the past which was pants to be honest. However, your wax rocks! It's sticky, grippy and smells ace. I'm a convert and will be using this from now on.

Matthew Taylor-Garcia

Joe and Mags screen-print their t-shirts by hand. The plan is to increase the range of products and clothing they produce, appealing to everyone, not only the surfing community.

A friend told Mags about Spark, the business start-up programme run by Truro and Penwith College, so Joe and Mags went along to an information session and realised how much they could learn from the programme.

Mags said: “We had some mentoring, the initial sessions helped us define what we needed help with, and we have had lots of help with our brand, website and marketing from Eight Wire a design and marketing agency in Falmouth.”

A grant from Spark helped them pay the fee to attend Boardmasters, a music and surfing festival held in Newquay where the products proved to be a great hit. It was also invaluable to make new business contacts.

Mu-grip surf wax is stocked in many shops in Cornwall and the Mutant Cornwall T- shirts can be found in Bathsheba Surf Shop in Perranporth, as well as on the website. Joe and Mags have big plans to branch out and produce more ethically sourced and surf related eco products.

“I walked away from Boardmasters thinking that the key is to produce ethically made products and sourcing our raw materials locally as much as possible,” Joe says. Ethical and local are key words that pop up frequently and Mutant Cornwall is evolving into a brand that will appeal to people of all ages who are attracted to ethical local businesses.

Find out more about Mutant Cornwall here.