200: Nick Hounsfield/The Journey Is The Destination

Nick Hounsfield, photographed by Owen Tozer, January 2023.

Milestone alert! 200 episodes!

Yep, six years and countless HKC rants later, episode 200 is finally here. And I’ve decided to mark this landmark occasion with the usual double-header. Next week, I’m releasing a special bonus episode 200 conversation with my old pal, BBC Ski Sunday presenter and most-capped Looking Sideways alumnus Ed Leigh for paid subscribers only.

Today, for this instalment, I’ve invited surfer and Wave founder Nick Hounsfield onto the show for his second visit. Why? Because if you ask me, there’s an argument to be made that Nick Hounsfield has had more influence on British surf culture over the last decade than anybody else. Certainly, the Wave has changed the landscape of British surfing in ways we’re still getting our heads around.

Photo: Owen

And then there’s Nick’s own story. When we recorded our first episode, back in September 2019, the pool itself was still dry and the place was a building site. Excitement crackled in the air, as Nick drew close to the end of a ten-year mission to get the place built. That chat ended up being a classic ‘if you build it, they will come’ look at the struggles Nick had been through to get the thing over the line.

Four-and-a-half-years later, the picture, naturally, looks different. As Nick put it during our conversation, “I thought that was the end of the journey. I now realise it was actually the beginning”.

Photo: Owen

And what a journey it has been, taking in Covid, the energy crisis, as well as the debilitating stroke Nick suffered in spring 2020. This narrative means, for me, that the story of the Wave is inextricably linked to Nick himself, as a founder and entrepreneur. What has he learned? What’s the personal cost been? And has it been worth it?

The resulting conversation is a truly fascinating insight into the personal tariff that comes with the territory when you try and deliver such a transformative and all-encompassing vision. It’s about what it takes to be a founder and visionary; and why hard, pragmatic decisions come with the territory.

I got a lot out of it, and I’m stoked Nick trusted me to go there. I hope you enjoy our conversation – below:

Connect with Nick