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Wavegarden UK was thought up by two Bristol friends, Nick Hounsfield (an osteopath) and Tobin Coles (a corporate marketing director).
“We love surfing and have a vision of creating a space in Bristol for all the community to enjoy and where people can get close to nature.
We are joined by Chris Hines MBE, founder of Surfers against Sewage and former director of sustainability at the Eden Project and Sue Minter, President of the institute for Horticulture.”
Co-director of Manuca Ltd and co-founder of Wavegarden UK.
Nick is 38 years old and lives with his family in Bristol. He has a wife and 3 young boys.
He qualified as an Osteopath with a BSc Hons degree in 1997.
Since then he has worked in the Bristol area and in 2006 he started his own clinic. He is now clinical director of one of the busiest clinics in the area with the help of his family (5 of which are also Osteopaths!) and 20 other practitioners. He is also on the General Osteopathic Council, one of the 12 Statutory Healthcare regulators. This involves strategic thinking, policy planning, scrutinising finances, educational policy reform and equality and diversity issues.
Nick has always been a surfer. He has had a passion for the sea ever since a small child when his Dad used to take him surfing at Portreath, Cornwall. Prior to having children Nick would frequently drive down from Bristol for a surf before or after work. Nick frequently starts his weekend at the beach getting waves at sunrise (before the world awakes!) . Such is his commitment.
Nick and his wife have travelled extensively in the past in search of waves and this has given him an enormous insight into surf culture worldwide and the surfing industry.
Wavegarden is an opportunity to bring together all his major passions in life:
Surfing, helping children with illness/disability, education, wildlife, ecology, surf industry and Bristol.
“I have a vision of a beautiful and sensitively designed community space where people can surf, picnic, play, work, socialise and enjoy the beautiful outdoor space that Bristol has to offer. This space should be accessible to everyone and really show that, if done thoughtfully, you can bring together urban life and rural beauty in harmony and bring benefits to the local community and ecology. Bristol historically has the gift of engineering and raw beautiful nature. The thought of blending and preserving these very precious local traditions excites me beyond belief.
Equally, the thought of not jumping into a car for 5 hours and stamping a big carbon footprint every time I want to surf, will make me feel a whole lot better about surfing.” – Nick Hounsfield
Tobin is 39 years old, has been with his beautiful lady for 20 years with 3 lovely daughters arriving along the way keeping them both on their toes. Of the 39 years Tobin has been on the planet he has been surfing for 33 of them.
It was Tobin’s grandfather who brought surfing into the family. A carpenter working at Westland Helicopters Arthur would ‘borrow’ balsa wood from the factory to build longboards in the shed during the winter ready for ‘testing’ in the spring. Arthur was often seen transporting his boards to the beach on the top of a homemade roof rack that he bolted to his Vincent motor bike.
The bug set in and still to this day Tobin rides longboards, single fins and retro boards.
It’s often been said that if enthusiasm for surfing was a measure of talent Tobin would be world champion. Unfortunately it isn’t so Tobin resides in that the box labelled ‘enthusiasm rich, talent poor’. Having said that if the surf is 5ft, offshore and pumping Tobin will be found charging somewhere on the Devon / Cornwall borders.
It was the love of the outdoors, the surf, the beach that led Tobin to study for a BSc in Environmental Science and a desire to create a sustainable future. This was then augmented with qualifications in marketing, sales and business development.
The Wavegarden brings of all Tobin’s talents together.
“I have a vision of a breathtaking venue where a perfect wave breaks in the surroundings of a perfect garden. Open for all people all of the year. Young, old, able-bodied, physically impaired all enjoying the magic of the wave. A surfing utopia in an urban setting. What are you waiting for…get in there……..!!!” Tobin
Chris is a highly respected communicator and driver of positive change. Chris was founder and Director of ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ (SAS) for 10 years. Described as “Some of the governments most sophisticated environmental critics” by BBC News and Current Affairs and “Britain’s coolest pressure group” by The Independent. SAS were runners up in the 1999 Green Politics Award.
With a strong focus on “solution to problems”, he helped deliver £5 billion spend on UK coastline. Chris has given evidence to Commons and Lords Select Committees, Monopolies, Mergers Commission and the European Parliament and Commission and was called as a special advisor to the Rt.Hon Michael Meacher MP Minister for the Environment.
Chris sees effective communication as a key driver to change. He has appeared on everything from Panorama to BBC Newsnight live, BBC Children’s TV and the BBC World Service and CNN Skewed View.
In June 2008 Chris received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “services to the environment.”
From 2001-2007 Chris was Sustainability Director at the Eden Project.
In 2006 Chris was joint-winner (with Glenn Hening from the USA) of the first international ‘Surfers Path Green Wave Awards’ for his contributions to the surfing and environmental world and was featured as one of the Daily Telegraph’s Eco Heroes.
Chris is a director of Surf Action, the charity that works with military veterans and was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of Plymouth.
Chris is also a YIMBY – Yes In My Back Yard – having campaigned for sewage treatment works, he lives next to one!
Sue Minter is President at Institute of Horticulture and a horticultural consultant specialising in economic botany. She has a particular interest in medicinal plant policy issues and in public engagement with science.
She read history at Girton College, Cambridge and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in 1971/2. After a career in publishing she retrained in horticulture at Merrist Wood and then Pershore College and joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where she became Supervisor of the Palm House during its restoration in the 1980s and designed the replanting.
She was Curator at the Chelsea Physic Garden; then joined the Eden Project where she was Horticultural Director from 2001-6. She is now a horticultural consultant, lectures and regularly takes specialist tours, mainly to the Mediterranean.
Her publications include ‘The Greatest Glasshouse’ (on Kew’s Palm House), ‘The Apothecaries Garden’ (which was recently revised and updated for Eden) and ‘The Healing Garden’, a history of Chelsea Physic Garden which was published for the Millennium, plus a forthcoming biography of Alicia Amherst, author of the first history of gardening in England and published by the Book Guild under the title ‘The Well-Connected Gardener’.
‘I have spent all my life finding gardening and horticulture healing on a personal level -and writing about it too. Wavegarden will be a great way of combining our primal links with the watery environment with how earth-bound spaces can heal us too.’- Sue Minter
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