Founder of The Wave, Nick's passion for surfing inspired him to create a unique experience in a landlocked city, challenging traditional notions of wave-riding. Through his vision and dedication, he has bought together the local surf community and provided the joy of waves to Bristol.
Words by Rachel Lingham | 29th May '23
Inspired by his love for surfing and the desire to bring waves to a landlocked city, Nick embarked on a journey to create a revolutionary inland surfing experience. In 2019 – after years of perseverance and collaboration with experts in wave technology and sustainable design – The Wave was born, transforming Bristol into an unexpected surf hub.
The Wave is a cutting-edge inland surf pool, celebrated as much for being, well, a brilliant wave, as for its commitment to sustainability and innovative approach. It is designed with a strong focus on minimising its environmental impact while offering an exceptional surf experience and a safe, inclusive space for all surfers.
By reinstating hedgerows, wildflowers and green spaces on the previously low-grade farmland, plus securing planning permission and funding for a solar and energy storage array, The Wave serves as a remarkable example of how recreational activities can be seamlessly integrated with eco-conscious practices.
Nick chats to us about his inspirations, purpose and more – we are big fans of The Wave here at Soul & Surf, so we were a little bit excited about this one!
I have been a surfer for about 45 years but I was trained as an Osteopath, trying to improve health and well-being through manual therapy.
Over time I realised that a lot of people's poor health was due to a number of things:
So, I set about trying to pull these different factors together and look at how we could solve these issues through one holistic vision. By chance this was the same time that Wavegarden released a video of their first technology which would bring waves inland, for the first time. That was the eureka moment. The start of The Wave...
Our purpose is to nurture a world of hope, health and happiness with every wave.
We wanted to bring the positive power of water and waves to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, breaking down actual or perceived barriers to water and encouraging as many people as possible to try our wonderful blue space. We started in Bristol, but want to now roll this ‘Blue Print’ out to London and other cities in the UK and abroad.
We also want to connect human health with environmental protection, as establishing this link is critical to the health of the planet and all who live on it
By "doing the right thing" as a business, we are future-proofing and creating resilience to future change. Looking after people, planet and profit in balance is our principle.
Seasonality is probably our biggest challenge. We are really busy in summer and relatively quiet in comparison in the winter. Water temperature is a big factor.
Personally, I get up each day super early and doing a few mindfulness practices, could be yoga, stretches, journaling or simply having a coffee watching the sun rise.
Surfing with the team first thing is a grounding ‘now’ experience. It's very special.
I lucked out once when myself and my wife went to the Caribbean as a recuperation from a shoulder injury. We went there as the weather was great and wasn’t known for good surf – or so I thought – until we rounded a corner to one of the beaches and found a perfect, empty, firing right-hand reef break.
I soon found a surfboard and used surfing as my rehabilitation! It was an amazing trip and what was great is that it was totally unexpected. Many of my other ‘Surf Trips’ have not been so lucky with conditions. Probably also why I wanted to build The Wave!
100% it’s my happy place, a place to have thrills, learn, reflect connect with nature. It's everything to me, which is why I wanted to bring the joy of ocean activities inland and share it by creating amazing blue spaces for everyone.
Fundamentally, we need to tread carefully in terms of our effect on the planet through travel. Making sure we minimise impact on the planet, whilst supporting local communities who would benefit from having us visit. We are more conscious of the effect of travel as a family and prefer a slower paced journey of discovery in foreign lands.
This is the future of surfing. Taking balanced risks soulfully.
My dyslexic self wants to say it's my favourite flatfish..!
But Soul to me is the part of us that is indelible, impressionable - and once we move on, the best part of our legacy we leave behind to continue for generations.
Find out more about the Wave over on their website: thewave.com
& give them a follow on instagram: @thewave