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interview


The founder of The Wave – the UK’s first inland surfing lake of its kind – aims to bring the mental and physical benefits of surfing to the masses.


IN 2010, Nick Hounsfield, an osteopath with a wife and young family, made a promise to his father as he died.


“My dad, also an osteopath, had worked all his life and was preparing for retirement when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He never got to enjoy his retirement and his death suddenly made me aware of my own mortality. I promised my dad that I would use the time I had left to impact people’s health and wellbeing on a much larger scale than I could as an osteopath,” says Hounsfield. A passionate surfer since a boy, Nick understood the physical and mental health benefits of exercise and the great outdoors. He gave up his job and set about creating a destination that would get people active while connecting them with nature. Then, he stumbled across a video that changed the course of the vision and his life.


The video was of a perfect wave rolling down a misty lake created by new technology being developed in Northern Spain. It was a lightbulb moment for Nick.


“It blew my mind; I knew it could be the hook that would bring people to the destination I was planning.”


Inspired by the potential of the new Wavegarden technology, Hounsfield ran the idea past Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden


12 pactfacilities.co.uk


Project and the man responsible for restoring the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. “Tim said it was a crazy idea and I had to do it.” Smit put him in touch with Chris Hines, formerly of the Eden Project and the co- founder of the highly successful environmental campaigning organisation Surfers Against


Sewage. The pair got together and started to develop plans for the delivery of a large-scale visitor destination. It was 2011 and they had a budget of just £500.


Craig Stoddart then joined Nick in 2015 and together they formulated a business plan that enabled them to raise the £25m needed


I promised my dad that I would use the time I had left to impact people’s health and wellbeing on a much larger scale than I could as an osteopath


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