ClickCease
Nick Hounsfield discusses the importance of being in and around water to promote physical and mental health, and how this has helped to shape his own recovery

Nick Hounsfield

January 27, 2022

‘Wavemaker’ Nick Hounsfield was introduced to surfing by his father in the 1970s and soon developed a passion for it. He started to see surfing as a tool for having conversations around wellbeing, which led to him founding The Wave – an inland surfing destination for people of all abilities and backgrounds. Nick’s idea was to create a space where people could connect with each other, themselves, and with nature. He champions ‘blue health’ – the physical and mental health benefits of being in and around water.


The Wave opened in Bristol in 2019 using ground-breaking technology, and Nick is planning on expanding the concept across the UK.


Nick has been involved with supporting and growing the para-surfing community, and The Wave hosted the English Adaptive Surf Championships in 2020 and 2021. Nick experienced first-hand the role surfing can play in overcoming health issues when he suffered a series of strokes in February 2020. Luckily he has made a good recovery but recognises that things could have been so much worse. The experience has made him more determined than ever to create a safe, sustainable space to promote health in body and mind.


Listen as we get into the details of how Nick was inspired to create The Wave and the lessons he’s learned from his own health challenges.

guest links

show notes

  • Climbing & Mountaineering in the Pyrenees - Trip
  • Quickfire questions:
  • Favourite surfing place?
  • Favourite surfers?
  • Nick’s first steps into surfing
  • How to explain the surfing experience to newcomers?
  • Similarity between mountaineering and surfing
  • Surfing culture - respecting nature
  • What is The Wave?
  • George’s surfing experience
  • Learning surfing with The Wave Makers
  • What is Blue Health?
  • Benefits for our body and mind
  • Adaptive surfing and para surfing
  • Importance of resilience and being kind to yourself
  • How adaptive surfing helped Nick’s recovery after his stroke
  • State of British surfing at the moment?

FULL transcription

calltoadventure

Kickoff hello hello and welcome to another episode of the call to adventure podcast with me george b so before we kick off I'll just remind you that you can now watch the video versions of this podcast over at Youtube. So if you want to see today's episode then just search call to adventure podcast wavemaker nick. So I've just got back from the winter mountaineering and summit annetto course in the french pyrenees which was amazing. It was like going to school but for outdoor skills all day long kind of eight ten hours of just learning ah incredibly interesting. Awesome exciting stuff so we did some. Isac self- Arrestts Forwards backwards headfirs face down. We've did one where you start to slide down and then midway through get the axe flung at you and then have to turn around and stop yourself from falling off the side of a mountain which was really fun. Did a bit of snow science. Um, some avalanche training made some belays and anchors. So if you want to make that transition from hiking to proper mountaineering and have a chance to summit the highest mountain in the pyrenees then this is a great trip I'll be putting together a video of the trip that that we did so keep your eyes peeled for that. That's of interest and you can always head over to callwoodventure Uk. Take a look at the trips and book on for next year if that floats you boat but now on to today's pod so today we're chatting with Nick Houndsfield otherwise known as wavemaker nick so nick is a surfer social entrepreneur. He's the founder and chief visionary officer of the wave the first. Inland surfing destination in Bristol and he's also a member of the uksportinternational leadership leadership program and director of surfing england so without further ado nick how's it going.

nick

All good. Yeah on introduction and I'm completely intrigued by your trip. So I'm gonna have to take that offline and talk about that another time.

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah, it was it was brilliant. It was absolutely amazing. It's been canceled twice because covid for the last couple of years. So this was third time lucky. And yeah, we were really lucky the the weather was. Amazing. It snowed just before we got there so we had lots of snow to play in. But then it was very sunny for the week that we were there and then snowed on the last day so for the mountain summit day we had blue skies and.

nick

Um, wow.

calltoadventure

Yeah, it was it was great all the stuff that I'd really wanted to learn and just like sitting there tying loads of different types of knots and and lowering people off massive rocks so it was it was a real adventure. It was ah it was great. Fun really really cool so Nick before we get into it. We normally do a few quick fire questions. So just.

nick

Wow! All things perfect.

calltoadventure

First thing that comes into your mind. Um, so favorite surf spots other than the wave.

nick

It's the only place I surf nowadays that isn't um, favorite surf spot that I can't disclose. Um, what got me bit careful there I've I I this.

03:48.98

calltoadventure

Yeah, about 2

nick

Somewhere in the caribbean that is a bit of a duel in the crown that I had no idea. In fact, just a very quick backstory broke. My shoulder spoke to my now wife thankfully? um ah we need to go away somewhere where there's no waves. So um, went to the caribbean for a week's trip so I could rehab my shoulder and woke up one day to the most perfect probably one hundred and fifty two hundred meter perfect right hander just outside our front door and. All I can say is my shoulder very remarkably got better very quickly. Um, because it was perfect. So um, yes, somewhere somewhere in the caribbean not a million miles away from um, ah, Trinidad and absolute perfection. And yeah, that that spot. And that that those serfs will live live with me till the day I die 100% yeah hundred percent yeah

calltoadventure

Wow! Very cool amazing when you find a spot like that isn't it. Oh will we'll pick that up offline too. Um, favorite favorite surfer of the moment now. Do you have anyone that's particularly impressing you.

nick

Um, that's a really good question. Um, um, my favorite surfer at the moment I have to say um, possibly Lucas Skinner um you know he is. He. Is an ambassador for us now but genuinely ah he he's just such raw talent. So good and I'm really excited to see the future I think you know he really does embody the future of surfing. Good good guy. Really good kid. Um, you know. Absolutely obviously high performance is amazing. Um, but has hopefully and will continue to have a really good head on his shoulders. Um, so he really intrigues me in terms of the future and where it could go. And where I think it will go and and then I guess the other person I've got so many? Yeah, you can't have I have to have more than one I think the other person that I want to um shout is is probably wrist more. Think she just embodies everything. That's really good everything that comes um from the surf from surf culture. She's really embodied that really really well. So obviously she's multiple world champion but also is humble Smiley. Approachable, um, and I think also got there's something earthy about her that really makes me feel like she's an embodiment of surf culture. The the true surf um culture from Hawaii. So I think that that those are the 2 things like real.

calltoadventure

M.

nick

Homegrown talent but also somebody who I think will be will transcend. Um, um generations.

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah, and it is Luke Ben's son. Yeah yeah, okay, cool, very cool. Yeah I met Ben fairly recently down at um skin dog in Cornwall and he was just such a nice.

nick

Yeah, yeah.

nick

Um, um.

calltoadventure

Down-to-earth chilled guy just ah took like half an hour of abouts out of his day for me to fanboy his boards and just feel them go ooh. They're just amazingly light for boards that big and really incredible and then to think that he's surfing at such a high level but then is really really chilled out and you meet him and just feel feels like somebody that you'd.

nick

Yeah.

calltoadventure

Meet down the beach and down the pub.

nick

He's just that whole family's just they're just proper humans like proper humans. They're just good people to be around always good vibes around them. Um, and yeah and I think they're real good ambassadors for the sport. So yeah, um.

calltoadventure

Yeah, so how how did you get into surfing What was the genesis of surfing for you.

nick

Good people.

nick

Um I got into surfing really? um, probably about 9 years old and my we used to go to Cornwall in the summertime most summertime would go to down to cool normally around Prorieth area. Um, and. Um, yeah, my dad my dad was um by his own admission probably was pretty terrible surfer but he will always have a go at everything and he managed to get hold of an old popout board. Um, ah and. Yeah, he he started to push me first of all, just got me stood on it I've I've got like proper old super 8 videos of it. Um, pushing me into ah into just along the water's edge and then later um, went into the waves with him. Um. And I guess you know both of us you know I had 2 sisters and so myself, um, my dad were always like um, completely thicker as thick as thieves. So we'd always do everything together I like learnt to sail with him fish with him surf with him play golf with him. Um, and yeah, just um, he I guess he was the first person that got me on a surfboard and and pushed me into some waves. So yeah, that's like nearly forty five years ago so been surfing for 45 years and I possibly haven't improved since that day.

calltoadventure

Ah, wow, that's that's a very nice connection to have with your dad though. Um, it's ah it's quite ah I guess an ah fairly unusual thing for people in the UK just given that not that many people surfed I think in their generation but what? Ah, it's a really really cool connection for people that.

nick

Yeah, definitely.

calltoadventure

I Mean lot of people listening to this will have surfed before. But for those who haven't can you try and describe what it is. That's addictive about surfing or what the experience feels like.

nick

Um I guess it's it's a combination of um, really like quite hard work. It's quite you know is is is quite gruelling but in a positive way. It's like when you when you go for a surf. It's it. It feels like you're being. Bashed around by the elements. It's really good in terms of um, physical exertion. But at the same time you're learning a skill for the first time it's quite a tricky skill when you first when you when you first go you know, go surfing. It feels like almost an impossible task. Some people? Um, but actually it's still something that you just repetition repetition repetition. You can learn and and there's I think there's a real quality around surfing about like that tenacity to to improve so you know you will. You know I always say like every single surfer falls off at the end of the wave. It's just that some people fall off right at the beginning and some of them have a kind of pretty cool epic ride along the way but everyone falls over and I think there's a really good. Parallel to life in terms of being able to fall over get back up fall over get back up but just keep progress and keep learning keep learning keep learning and eventually it just clicks it just suddenly goes like riding a byte suddenly happens to go. Ah I've done it and then you might fall over a few more times and then oh I've done it again. And it just starts to become. You know one of those learned patterns. Um, which ah gives you a huge sense of achievement when you're learning and then I think for a lot of people and particularly for me is just getting out into the ocean being up one with. Ah, nature being able to be sometimes thumped around by decent ways but equally sometimes just having sometimes it can be really really quiet and not many waves and actually being able to be at peace with yourself and be able to um. Be it one with the surroundings and the atmosphere that the the ocean creates. So I think it's got like it's got different moods and you can tap into those different moods and um respond to them in different ways. Um, you can bring your aggressive side out on it and other days you could be. Super chilled and just go. You know what? I just need to be in the water. It doesn't it's not even about surfing. It's just being in the water and other times it could be you you just loving the fact of you know the solitude and other times it's absolutely you just go I just need to share this with friends.

nick

So It's just those different moods and personalities of water waves ocean and how you can integrate how you feel yourself into that Environment. So I Kind of love it. Not surprising ways like um and and you know fundamentally and and. Um, you know for obviously many years have felt like it's something that could really share and share with people who maybe don't have experience of it. Don't understand it don't have access to it. Um, for for various reasons and it just feels like there's something in surfing that. Is is could could transcend just it being purely a sport. It could be something that could be part of part of your own health and wellbeing. Um, so that's that's kind of kind of how I think about it.

calltoadventure

yeah yeah I think I think about it in a very similar way and I think it does have a lot of parallels to mountaineering actually and the variability of that where it's kind of like more than a spore. Um, if you want to be like very romantic about mountaineering. It's really like. Ah, kind of communion with nature and you can have lots of different experiences I think like you can in surfing like I've had some of the most serene beautiful laid-back times of my life on a surfboard sitting in central America and Panama and Bocca Del Toro and just kind of lying on your board and just sitting in the sunshine. Not even really surfing and. Um, just really relaxing and enjoying the moment all the way to some of the most terrifying moments of my life even just recently down in devon caught in some big swell and it was nearly game over and my leash snapped and I was stuck out there and having a real big day. Let's say.

nick

I.

calltoadventure

And then got got back to got back to shore wondering whether I would do after about 45 minutes of of pretty extreme paddling back in and it was but the lessons that you learn I think I think kind of similar to that mountaineering stuff where. You you can apply the things that you the things that happen in your surfing to the rest of your life like then I was probably a little bit gunhoe going out and I wasn't really aware of my surroundings I was just kind of like not very present to not really looking up watching the conditions and then surf had got a lot bigger.

nick

1

calltoadventure

Over the 20 minutes or something that I'd been maybe half an hour that I'd been in there and then it was out back and it was absolutely massive and and then I came back and and then I didn't sur for a little while in it. But it it really stayed with me that lesson as it has sometimes when I've pushed it a little bit too far when I've been. Ah.

nick

Um.

nick

Are you.

calltoadventure

Doing some kind of alpine hiking or Himalayan stuff. So I I love how it it is much more than a sport in a way that sorry to pick on squash but let's just say like squash. For example I don't think you can learn the same kind of lessons whilst it's a great sport. Um it it is. It is very different. It makes these.

nick

Yeah.

calltoadventure

These sports quite different.

nick

Yeah, one hundred percent hundred percent and and I think a big part of that is that interaction with nature where you you you can come prepared as much you know you can have and obviously the more knowledge you have you're gonna just become safer. But. But ultimately you still do throw yourself out there a little bit to the behest of of nature and you have to just deal with what's going to get served up to you and I and I love that you know and and and you know the what's interesting is obviously you know with. With the wave having created a very artificial environment where you can actually control a lot of those kind of things. Um is it does take a little bit of that. Um that fear and and and and worry around that. So I think it's it's particularly good for people who who. Want to sort of venture into that field but feel like they're quite scared or concerned or want more direction or want to Dis you know, um dispel a little bit of the a little bit of the um, almost you know the um.

calltoadventure

Um.

nick

The yeah branchsion. Maybe maybe a little bit of the um cultural bound bound feeling like I'm I'm entering into something that I don't I don't know much about I feel a little bit intimidated by um because I think I think.

calltoadventure

Apprehension or the kind of fear or the the.

calltoadventure

More.

nick

Surfing is intimidating in terms of looking at waves in the ocean and all the rest of it. But Also I think it can be or has been up until now quite an intimidating sport to get into because it's set by a very set by a culture and a code and the way that people should. Be in the water and and I think I quite like the fact that we we are actually um, reducing down some of that tension and making it more acceptable for a greater number of people but also being able to be stewards of. Of that dialogue making sure that when people do learn to surf and then we do go down to the ocean that actually there's respect there respect for the ocean respect for people who are already in the lineup respect for the ocean surroundings. The Marine environment respect for.

calltoadventure

E.

nick

Um, you know, making sure that the beaches are cleaned and that you're you're not leaving any footprints of you being there all those kind of things so so comes with that sort of democratizing of surfing with I think a responsibility to also make sure that when people do surf. And go down to the beaches that actually they're better. Surf is not just from a technical point of view but also from a human point of view in in in there. They've got the right outlook and tried to be part that conversation I think it's really important.

calltoadventure

Yeah I love the wave and I think most people will know what it is by now. But for those who don't you would do a much better job than I will Nick but just very quickly. It's ah it's a kind of man-made inland surfing.

nick

My.

calltoadventure

Venue ah with a gri. In fact, let you you will do a much better job. So just so just very so just very quickly. What what is the wave.

nick

Not quite. Yeah I would I would challenge that and I'd only challenge that over the last few days I've been really really thinking about what we are and I still don't think we know what we are um. I don't think we know what the potential of what we are is but I would say we are a health and well-being destination place that you could come and visit that has got surfing at the heart of it but is also ah creates a place a culture a vibe that. Um, that it's just a place of hope right now I think it's just a place of hope. Um that might seem a little bit. Um, airy fairy a bit woolly. But I think right now I think a lot of people that people I've spoken to today. Place of hope so people that come along. They have fun they laugh. They're smiling their reflectors. They're reflective. Um and and they're also at the same time becoming better surfers but it is quintessentially as you say. An inland surf destination that creates perfect waves at the push of a button and it deals up waves for people of all ages all backgrounds and all abilities. That's what we are.

calltoadventure

Yeah I think about call to adventure and the adventure stuff very similarly where the the medium is much less important than the experience and the message and the learning that you take from it. So yeah, we we basically put sell adventure tours and and give out free adventure advice.

nick

Yeah, hung out.

calltoadventure

But the reason why is because of all the things that you get from adventure which is like the ah joy of being outdoors connecting with others challenging yourself and then it's really a great way to Trojan Horse in the message of sustainability help people fall in love with indoors. Um, but. Ah, it's far more interesting and compelling than doing talks about climate change and biodiversity loss and all that good stuff. So it's it's a very real way to communicate those messages and get people to form those relationships and really care about those things firsthand in a way that a lecture.

nick

Ask.

nick

Yeah, a hundred percent yeah and as exactly what you just said it. It goes back to the reason why why you're doing it what your purpose is in terms of why you set up anything. It doesn't it doesn't matter what it is um, but if it's actually founded upon ah, you know strong principles.

calltoadventure

Can't yeah.

nick

Of of clear purpose of what you want to achieve then um yeah from from my perspective that will give it the longevity of you know, whatever I'm doing what you're doing what anybody's doing it means that you've got a ah far more coherent message to be able to. Um, to to promote or advertise Market or the impact that you want to see in this world. Um, fundamentally we just want people to have massive amounts of good fun in a safe environment and protect the planet whilst we're doing it. It's simple as that I think but.

calltoadventure

Um, yeah.

nick

Think that's that's that's the common thread between the you know what we're all doing um because we we just absolutely love what we do. We want to share it but we want to make sure that we're sharing it from in a responsible way.

calltoadventure

Yeah, absolutely I I think that's all amazing and I completely agree but it's also a great venue just to learn to surf and to get better at surfing. So if ah yeah I think um, it.

nick

Um, yeah.

calltoadventure

Surfing is probably 1 of the hardest if not the hardest sport that I've ever tried to learn. It takes such a long time and that's kind of what makes it amazing because it just takes forever to chip away at I live in landlock shopshire so it's pretty much the worst place to be a surfer It's right in the middle of the country. Um, so it's 3 hours to get to the sea and we would often drive there and then the the surf was supposed to be good and then you get there and it's either too big or too small or really busy and then for this day that you'd driven you know the six six and a half hour return round trip. You would maybe get 4 or 5 opportunities to. Stand up on a wave. You'd miss 2 and then you'd fall off on the others and then you'd come home and it would just take forever and and I love the ah being in the sea. There's kind of nothing better than it in a lot of ways and it was good enough just to have a day out with your mates. But what I love about um the wave is that it.

nick

Um, yeah I.

nick

Yeah.

calltoadventure

Takes away so many of those variables you're not tired when you paddle out it's the same wave each time you don't feel the pressure of everybody else being like like you're getting their wave and it's really allowed. It's kind of opened up actual surfing for me.

nick

Yeah, well.

nick

No.

calltoadventure

Because I've caught my first proper waves there and experienced the feeling of surfing and like actually coming at surfing along a wave and being like oh this is why everybody loves it so much like it's cool being out there. But now I can actually surf and so if people are listening and thinking like well.

nick

Um, yeah, exactly exactly.

calltoadventure

But ah much you know I've only surfed in the sea I'm not really sure about this kind of approach I would strongly encourage you just to have a go and and the different settings mean that it's fun for everyone. We go with people who've never been before to guys who are really good and they go on that expert wave and um, it's certainly pretty heavy now. But.

nick

Um, why.

calltoadventure

I Think it's just ah, it's It's an amazing concept and I was so happy when when you guys built it here. Um yeah, pumped with it.

nick

Know good. Um I'm so glad that you yeah you, you've enjoyed it so much I mean it is um you know I still I still pinch myself every time really today it was just first of all wanted to just get in in the water. But of course that's my workplace I got. Kind of do some work. Um, but seeing yeah seeing people with you know, smiles on their faces you know and you can see that sort of concentration and and people really really wanting to crack that um as a skill and then the look on their face when they nail it and they're like standing up. Um, and you know and everyone cheering around them. You know, not in a not in a cheesy way. But you know again when you go down to the beaches. You know, um, it's all a little bit kind of um, ah, you don't I mean I do but a lot of people just kind of. Got their game face on when they're out there. Um, yeah, exactly. But you know what we really want to do at the wave and we do do at the wave is just try to just like just take that stress out of it. It's like smile likeop whoop each other into waves. Um, just ah, just.

calltoadventure

2 pf's school.

nick

Be excited for other people's um, success. You know that's it's so important and also um, being able to just go. Actually you can go on this so many waves in in an hour you go on this wave I'll just get the next one. It's fine. So cool. It's no problem. You can never you very rarely get that. Um, at the Sea. So and and that's that's something that we thankfully with our wavemakers. All the people that work with us. We call everybody who works with us wavemakers. Um, it comes really naturally to them and in terms of creating the right vibe make it very accepting for anybody. Nobody should be coming to us and feeling embarrassed or ashamed or intimidated or anything like that we wouldn't want to really break down. Um the ability for people to feel welcome and and that they can just feel like it's their own their own home break. Ah, in place.

calltoadventure

Yeah I'm I'm pumped now looking forward to going again soon but just to switch gears a little bit So what is blue Health I read I read that that's a passion and something that you're very interested in. Um, but what what is Blue health.

nick

We like them.

nick

You Blue Health is a I guess a concept. Um, its a paradigm of of looking at the benefits from a physical mental mental and perspective of being. In around close to listening to visualizing water waves the ocean and how that has a nourishing effect on people's health and well-being so whether you're actually in the water swimming or surfing or. Sailing could be fishing could be anything like that but being in and around water um feels and something I've felt for years um feels like it nourishes my health and well-being um and obviously if you're active in it then that gives another layer of. Being able to be physical and kind of getting your body you know, um, moving maybe also being submerged in water just being able to take gravity out of the equation of what it does to your body. Um, you know from your joints and and and your muscuskeletal system.

calltoadventure

A.

nick

And fundamentally that it's just a very very positive experience and blue health is a sort of growing body of research um of being starting to understand how actually that could be a real panic panacea like a medicine chest in in the ocean. Or in water or in lakes or in rivers or at the wave um whereby people walk away from it and go I feel better for having done that either being close to it or actually being in it and what we wanting to work out is look will get a lot more research off the back of what. How does that happen. what what happens what is what happens to your neurology. What happens to your brain in that blue environment when you can hear water or the sound of waves or um, yeah, being in water. How does that how does that manifest itself. In in actually in your body and can we actually get some research around that because you know we know we work with 4 or 5 different um organizations whereby these organizations are coming to us. Um, getting basically surf therapy coming coming along and.

calltoadventure

Yeah, it's fascinating isn't it. So so.

nick

People who and mainly kids but also could be adults people who come to us are having such a positive experience that they go back and can can focus more be better people. Um, maybe reduce their medication deal with. Addiction or loads of different things. Um, they're just better people for it and if we can bottle that up or understand what that is then that would be so much better than having to take medicine or having you know it has to be in in combination for some people. With counseling or medication or whatever it might be but if we can reduce that down and it becomes your way of being able to um, Self-prescribee be able to go. You know what? I'm not going to I'm not going to do this or I'm going to reduce the amount that I do that.

calltoadventure

And.

nick

But I'm actually just goingnna go out into the nature. You know what? I'm just Goingnna go and have a walk by a stream or I'm going to go to a lake or I'm going to go surfing or I'm going to go to the wave or I'm going to go swim whatever it is. There's something um in that that is completely recognizable across. Loads of people and we just want to look at how we can get evidence based around that so that we can potentially you know create surf therapy not just for the wave in the oceans or in streams or rivers or wherever it might be um so that's a whole body of research that that. Is out there already and we then go well wait a second. We're going to have maybe 100000 people visiting the wave that is the most perfect um cohort to then be able to go. Let's get some research off that because that's that's kind of cool if we can get a body of research. Off the back of that proving how important that that is for people's mental and physical wellbeing then yeah that that for us is is gold us in terms of showing how the the impact that you can have on this world. Particularly if you can then reach out to people who don't have access to that.

32:19.00

calltoadventure

Yeah, so interesting isn't it like if you've spent a lot of time around water or even if you haven't just I think most people intuitively have experienced that right. They felt the kind of benefits of being around water. They've just. But yeah I do feel I do feel really good I feel kind of more relaxed and all the other good stuff that goes along with it. But um, it's interesting now how we're able to use scientific the scientific method and research to actually find the mechanism behind why these things happen but it's it's funny. How things that.

nick

Well.

nick

Um, well.

calltoadventure

Even though we're like so technologically advanced and we have starlink going around and neural networks and all this and ah and an incredibly fast internet system and yet some of the things that the most powerful are things that people have done for thousands or millions of years like the sauna is a really good example I was living in Sweden till last year and they didn't know the mechanism behind why saunas were really good for you. But now the science has been able to find all of these the the actual specific mechanisms of why it makes you feel so good and I think that's encouraged a lot more people to get back into it. But it's it's fascinating how we kind of.

nick

Um, me.

calltoadventure

Deep down. We know these kind of things but we often need the science to bring us background to things that we kind of have forgotten or perhaps knew in the first place.

nick

Yeah, no I couldn't agree more Um, and fundamentally you know when when when push comes to shove I mean as we know through the back of a pandemic where we instinctively know what makes us feel good and when it's taken away from us. We really notice it we really really notice it and that could be human connection. It could be getting out into nature could be just going for a walk even being able to go into back garden sometimes felt like it was like really daring so suddenly when that that world is open back up to you? um. It feels like personally im really grateful much more grateful than I ever was before and I was pretty grateful anyway. Um, but then it feels like we just got to share this. We've we've got to allow other people access to those spaces to those. Green spaces blue spaces nature um, and particularly you know living pretty pretty close to the center of Bristol and we're going to be going into London those spaces are you know there aren't so many of them and and so we need to work hard to be able to get. People who potentially are missing out on that out into them so you're you're cool to adventure because and same with me relatively privileged. We've managed to get out there. Um, um, and make that happen because we realize how important it is and and we love it. Wouldn't it be great if if more people people who wouldn't wouldn't would never even think about them being being in that space to be able to then have access to that as well and that that really excites me for the future if we can. Again, we can start to sort of that democratizing of of nature. Be able to go right? How can we? How can we get more people out there. Um loving and living this space that we you know that we we appreciate. Um. And and know instinctively It's really good for us really good for us as humans.

calltoadventure

Yeah I was talking to Alex Stanforth from the show a little while ago and he referred to the outdoors of the natural health service and I love that way of thinking about it and really helps frame how powerful the outdoors can be um, would be interesting to ah love to keep.

nick

Yeah.

calltoadventure

And an eye on that research and kind of see see what they come up with because it's ah I think it's fascinating and I'd love to talk a little bit about the kind of adaptive and parasurfing stuff that you have also delved into so what sparked your interest in.

nick

Yeah, yeah.

calltoadventure

In those fields.

nick

Um I guess it it goes back to you know that accessibility. That's it seeing so I got I got introduced to the adaptive scene and 2016 I think it was mainly 2015 maybe um, ah I became aware that there was a sort of growing field of surfers who were who were um, just just sending it like sending it like you would never believe um in decent waves big waves but also always with a smile on their face and. Um, incredible characters. Um I was introduced by this guy called Nick Reese who was working with um surfing england it was it was surfing gb at that time and then we morphed into surfing england um, and just went to the world adaptive games in San Diego and met 2 or 3 of the characters from the england setup. Um, but more importantly, the wider community of um of adaptive surfers and found that they were some of the most funny ah the most inappropriate. In in a funny way. Um, just heartfelt and incredible human beings I'd ever I'd ever met and and in a rich pool of of talent as well. Um. Like wow, they just completely blew me away completely blew me away. Um, and I said you know if I'm going to be building the wave. It would be an absolute travesty if we didn't design it for not just disability compliant. But. Absolutely um, the most accessible place that we could possibly create so making sure that the entire building design. Um, the way you get into the lake the stuff that we've got you know the equipment we've got to be able to be. Hired or used or what have you just like everything with sort thought through properly with an adaptive surfing mindset. So we we obviously set about doing that and you know some of the some of the if you look closely at some of the things that we've done at the wave that is because we've. We've made them not just discipline ah disability. Um compliant but like really adaptive friendly. Um, and then you know over time a lot of these guys became really good friends and it it's become a scene that I would I would I would live in if i.

nick

Possibly could because I think that when you realize that there's people out there who've got every single excuse under the sun to not be able to for some of them. Not even to be living anymore like really really have. Gone through massive hardship to still be alive. Let alone, go surfing and let alone learn to surf and let alone compete and let alone become you know medal winners in their field. You just go like okay you literally fire the excuses. Of people who then say oh can't do it. It's a bit cold or you know I I I've got an ingrain toenail and or you know wherever it might be. You know, just just any excuses of why they won't want to do it if if if that adaptive community could become our ambassadors as to. Absolutely why you should be doing something. Um I Just really dig the thought of that and and you know not only is that community. They've embraced me? Um, but also um I think that that it's it's. It's It's the way of the future in terms of being able to to show surfing in its truest form the stoke of those guys is like astronomical and and they bring a lot of joy and a lot of happiness into that surfing community. And it's something that I think we need to be sharing across the whole surfing community and then way beyond that So that's why yeah, we've yeah we've we've hosted 2 or 3 times already and we're going to continue to do it. Um, the surfing. Um, you know surfing England Adaptive games. Um, obviously we've done 2 at the Wave. We're going to. Continue to do that because I just think it's like the most perfect melting pot of everything that is so brilliant about surfing that can flow over into Society. Um I'm quite passionate about it. You might have Noticed. Yep.

calltoadventure

Ah, super inspiring. It's really really cool to hear and I think it anything like that really just ignites a rocket under your bum right? It makes you just feel. It's very very energizing and and when you're around that kind of.

nick

Yeah.

nick

It's exact news that it.

calltoadventure

Energy and enthusiasm and strength and resilience. It really helps you helps push you forward right? It's very infectious. Yeah.

nick

Yeah, hundreds not a hundred percent yeah and you know and and and getting getting in amongst that crew at a time when you know to get the wave built. You know we have it has been really tough really tough at times. But um, but then you look at the. Stuff that they've had to overcome is like well yeah, it pales and you know it it just puts perspective on stuff. You know it just puts perspective on your life and you' like well my woe is about not being able to do this do that in in work life and all the rest of it. Yeah, you know I'm not having to. Umm, not having to deal with the stuff that they have to deal with day in day out. So just like get a grip. Go again tomorrow. It's all going to be fine and you know that's I think that they taught me that whole community taught me about resilience hundred percent put puts.

calltoadventure

Um.

calltoadventure

Um, yeah.

nick

Active on stuff and um and and continue to So. It's great, Really really good scene to be involved in and the fact that we could potentially get it to the paralympics whereby obviously that creates a real these these characters who are in that that adaptive scene parasurfing. Seen should be that their leaders they're they're people that could inspire generations and millions of people and they just need to have a voice now. Um, So yeah again I Just really really dig the thought of getting that community out there. On ah on a global step stage and be able to show how amazing they are as athletes but also how amazing they are as humans. Yeah.

calltoadventure

Um, yeah, have to have a few of them on the podcast. This podcast used to be Called. We need more Heroes and the idea was that we should be admonishing different types of people in society instead of kind of influencers and Kardashians we should look to people who are. Genuinely inspiring kind of doing amazing things in life. So sound like some. Yeah yeah that that would be brilliant. Yeah I'd really enjoy that I read that back in 20 you actually had a stroke yourself or a series of strokes. Do you which? um.

nick

Yeah I could hook you up with the most incredible people. So yeah, that's something to have about that.

calltoadventure

My dad had a stroke ah a few years ago so it's something that I'm very familiar with but um, do do you feel like your exposure to those guys helped you in your own recovery.

nick

Yeah, we we kind of take it. They kind of take ah the mickey out of me a bit they like just say they a lot those guys say oh you you love us so much. You're actually wanting to try and become one of us like I mean. Like what disability you wanting to like you just want to compete with us. Don't you just want to get into the adaptive team. Um, yeah I you know I yeah I had um had a big stroke in in 2020 right? at the beginning of the pandemic. Ah. Luckily I wasn't massively um, physically affected. Um, but I lost all ability to speak. Um, so I had to kind of relearn how to speak all over again? Um, but yeah, you know the guys from the team. Um. Were the first people to just send messages of support. You know they they know what it's like to to have a life-changing condition or life-changing event that you've got to come back from um and and again you look at. Perspective like it's very easy to then go how what have I lost but actually what have I still got was became the more important thing and I've got you know a couple of couple of friends. Um, who I've met through um through the adaptive scene who. You know they they've had strokes and you know they have got proper proper lifelong, um, physical um cognitive mental. Um and speech issues and I you know the first time I saw 1 of 1 of them. Um. At the wave I you know I absolutely burst out in tears I almost feel teary now thinking about it because I just go. You know he that happened to him ages ago and already I had made a better recovery from him and I felt embarrassed really. That I'd made such a good recovery and very very blessed of course but just go just win just like the perspective that that creates just go um, it could have been so much worse could have been so much worse. So I think that that was incredibly important to put perspective. Um, how how it was bad at the time but equally I was very lucky that it wasn't worse and that's you know something that just still still wrestles with me day in day out, but fundamentally I'm still really lucky.

calltoadventure

Do you have any other advice for people that have been through something similar or are dealing with their adversity themselves.

nick

Rather than a victim.

nick

Yeah I mean it's just just being kind to yourself. Really I mean um, you know I you know I make make no bones about the fact that it's it has been massively. You know from I guess from a mental health point of view. It. It really is troublesome going through stuff like that. Obviously lots of people go through a lot lot worse. Um, but there I think often there's a real. It's there's a real. Feeling of need to get back to where you were before and I think that you need to for some people they have to get to that point where they realize that they maybe will never get back to that where they were before and and need to kind of kind of learn how to how to. Change their lives accordingly but also just being kind to yourself because you you end up really beating yourself up by wanting to be better like pushing yourself to you know repair yourself rehabilitate rehabilitate yourself all those kind of things. And that actually creates more stress than the actual um issue or injury or whatever it might be or disability itself. So. It's just a ah guess about being being kind yourself being kind to yourself and not beating yourself up with why you've got there. Um. It will get better in in some you know in some shape or form. Um, but it's not ah, it's not a race recovery is not a race and actually sometimes racing yourself might be the very reason why you got it in the first place you just need to step back, get perspective and and. Yeah, be kind to yourself.

calltoadventure

Was there anything that surprised you.

nick

In terms of.

calltoadventure

In terms of after you had the stroke was there anything surprising that happened afterwards.

nick

Um, I mean it was there was a bit of an irony I guess that that what what? I'd ended up with my team building at the wave actually ended up being my own medicine. In terms of getting into the waters during pandemic soon as I was able to get to the wave. It was all shut down so I was just there by myself scrubbing the lake because I was really annoyed that algae was starting to pop up around the place. So I just got a scrubbing brush and spent. Best part of 2 3 hree months scrubbing the lake bed but actually how being in water and around water and seeing waves are pushed waves to be able to just sort of churn it all up once I'd sort of disturb the algae and stuff like that. Um, and how actually it became my own medicine chest. Um, that was a real surprise. Um and a real irony that I'd kind of maybe maybe something that had pushed me over the edge in terms of getting the stroke. Maybe I don't I don't know why I got stroke but maybe 10 years of really pushing myself too hard. Get this place built and then having a stroke then ironically became the place where I could heal again. Um, and that was a surprise that was definitely a surprise. Um, but a nice surprise and then it means that now I can talk to people.

calltoadventure

A.

nick

With real authority around the healing power of being in and around water and and again then wanting to just share that as widely as possible.

calltoadventure

Yeah, yeah, well really powerful. Thanks for sharing Nick um, but just to close what do you think of the state of british surfing now.

nick

Oh man just to close. That's a whole different side. There's a whole different episode I would say there is massive potential I think there is some um. We've got, we've we've got. We've got the we've got the people we've got we got the people we've got the people that can deliver this that can deliver an amazing organization based around british surfing that would then be able to pump prime. Money that we know is now available because it's part of olympic surfing. Um, and we just need to all be grown up about it set up a future sustainable future. Um, so that this raw young talent that absolutely exists because I've seen it I've seen some of them even today I've seen them there that we can absolutely tap into that raw talent and put them on the pedals on the pedalstall that they they deserve to be on. Um, whether that happens in the next three months three years it's now's the time to be doing it. Um, and the opportunity has never been riper right now I'm glad to be. Part of those conversations. Although I'm not I've stepped away from british surfing to some degree I'm still chairman of surfing England but I can just see this raw untapped potential both in our athletes and both in the organization of it. And it's just got to so kind of work its way into um, being um, being a real a real force. Um, which I'm I'm really confident that we can do it is just getting the right people around the right tables to be able to support the right people. Um. At the right time and and right now I can see particularly some of the youth coming through and I'm really really excited about it and it's up to us to be able to um to create that sustainable future. Um, so I am very very excited about it. Um, but we've got to. Yeah, we've got a lot of work to do still as well.

calltoadventure

Well there we go peeps very inspiring to finish time to get out and do some surfing if you really want to give surfing go and you perhaps are a little bit apprehensive. The wave is a great place to give it a go as is the sea. But I highly recommend that you go and check it out. Um, it is it is brilliant. It's such a very very good vibes and just amazing. Good fun. So Nick thanks for coming on the show really appreciate you taking the time. It's been awesome to chat? It's been really, really great and listeners and watchers and viewers. Thanks very much for tuning in as always so until then we'll see you next time.

nick

Thank you, Thank you.

calltoadventure

Thanks! Very much.

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