In the spring of 2020, we partnered with our friends at Jimmy’s Iced Coffee to launch a new podcast series called Inspired Surfers.
Presented by Jim himself, the goal was to tell a wide range of stories – from the deeply personal to the globally significant – through a series of conversations with individuals from across the surfing spectrum. We set about assembling a roster of business leaders, world champions, cultural icons and grassroots members of the community, who, despite their inherent differences, shared the common thread of a life transformed by surfing and the sea.
Two years and 18 episodes later, we’ve decided it’s time to take a breath – and a few sips of iced coffee – and have a look back on the Inspired Surfers audio anthology so far.
In season one, we began with a trio of accomplished company founders and CEOs, each of whom allows their passion for surfing to play a key role in their business ethos. They were Richard Walker, director of Iceland Supermarket, famed for his outspoken stance on plastic pollution and palm oil. Andy Medd, founder of Mother creative agency, who revealed in his episode how he’s driven by dreams of surf travel, and Rob Love, serial entrepreneur, who always insisted on basing his companies at the coast, so he and his team can reap the benefits of regular surfs.
Next, we caught up with the directors of three surf-based charities who each attempt to galvanise the widespread adoration of wave riding to create positive environmental and social impacts.
The first was Hugo Tagholm, chief exec of Surfers Against Sewage, who’ve been campaigning tirelessly against threats to our ocean health for over three decades. The next was Tim Conibear, founder of Waves For Change, a charity using surf therapy to change the lives of underprivileged children in South Africa, and the third was Dr Dave Jenkins, founder of Surf Aid, which seeks to provide healthcare for indigenous communities living in remote parts of the world, centred on the wave-rich Mentawai Islands in Indonesia.
The following three episodes featured female surfers who’ve either inspired others with their career achievements, worked on programmes designed to enable other women to access the joys of surfing, or both.
First, Carissa Moore 4x world champion and co-founder of the Moore Aloha foundation, which uses surfing as a platform to encourage young women to be strong, confident and compassionate individuals. Next, Rachel Murphy, founder of Women + Waves, a company operating female-only surf retreats in Cornwall, and finally, Bethany Hamilton, undoubtedly one of our culture’s finest figureheads, who, despite losing an arm in a shark attack as a teenager has gone on to achieve incredible things, becoming the ultimate inspiration for adaptive (and non-adaptive) surfers everywhere.
To round out the season, Jim caught up with North Devon-based Nick Corkhill, who shared a moving account of his personal battles with drug and alcohol addiction before describing the role surf photography and time in the ocean played in helping him overcome them.
We began series two with the story of the Dawn Days of May; a photography project started by Nick Pumphreys and Mike Guest that evolved into a global movement, sparking wide-ranging conversations on mental health and our connection with the natural world.
In episode two we met Hannah Green, a surfer from Scarborough who, after suffering many years of homelessness and PTSD, found solace in the arms of the North Sea. From there, we paid a visit to the Wave Bristol, to hear the inspiring story of founder and stroke survivor, Nick Hounsfield. We returned to the inland surf lagoon a few episodes later, for a conversation with partially sighted surfing world champion Melissa Reid, recorded live at the Blue Earth Summit, but not before taking a virtual trip down under, to meet longboarder and environmental campaigner Belinda Baggs. Also present at the summit was our guest for episode six, Tom Hewitt MBE, founder of Surfers Not Street Children, a charity using surfing and mentorship to intervene in the lives of children living on the street in South Africa and Mozambique.
We finished up series two with a pair of episodes featuring iconic surfers turned environmental campaigners, based in opposite corners of the globe. First was Fergal Smith, the renowned Irish charger, who after a short but glorious career at the vanguard of global big wave barrel riding, decided to quit flying and establish a community garden on the west coast of Ireland. And finally, Dave Rastovich and partner Lauren Hill, who similarly enjoyed careers as pro surfers, before returning to the land in Byron Bay.
All episodes are available to listen back to via the links above or wherever you get your podcasts. We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these conversations as much as we’ve enjoyed having them. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Wavelength Community Radio channel to be first in line to find out what’s coming next.