THE WAVE­G­AR­DEN GOD­DESS

YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOU'LL END IN THIS SURF­ING LIFE. PEM­BROKESHIRE PRO JO DEN­NI­SON SWAPPED CHAS­ING TOUR POINTS FOR A NINE TO FIVE WITH A DIF­FER­ENCE.

Carve - - INSIDER -

What’s your of­fi­cial ti­tle? Wa­ter Op­er­a­tions Man­ager.

How did you score the job?

I was vis­it­ing the pro­to­type near San Se­bas­tian in 2014 with my coach Martin Waltz when I found out that they'd started build­ing one in North Wales and it in­stantly fu­elled my in­ter­est. Could you imag­ine the first ever Wave Gar­den open­ing in your home coun­try and be­ing in­volved? I mean, it could have been done any­where but in­stead it was in the val­leys of North Wales.

Were you ner­vous about mov­ing from West Wales to the North?

After fin­ish­ing univer­sity in Swansea I started chas­ing the sum­mers for end­less sun­shine and waves. I spent eight months in France com­pet­ing in any of the WQS events I could. And in the win­ter trav­el­ling all over, liv­ing the dream some would say. Mak­ing an­other move wouldn’t be a prob­lem, how­ever mov­ing nine miles in­land for ef­fec­tively an of­fice job def­i­nitely made me ner­vous.

Is part of your job mak­ing sure Surf Snow­do­nia’s wave is sur­fa­ble ev­ery morn­ing? Ev­ery morn­ing starts with a risk as­sess­ment and surf check. It is very im­por­tant to know the fa­cil­i­ties are safe be­fore let­ting the cus­tomers in…

Are you one of the few peo­ple in the world pretty much guar­an­teed waves ev­ery day?

I have had to change my mind set a lit­tle bit be­cause I used to spend six to eight hours in the wa­ter a day. That’s 40 plus hours a week. I currently surf about four or five hours a week now, but ac­tu­ally the amount of waves I ride is higher. It is so re­li­able and con­sis­tent it ac­tu­ally feels like a gym ses­sion or a proper train­ing ses­sion. Some­times I get 37 waves an hour, re­ally giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to ‘train’ ma­noeu­vres. I would have to say I am one of the luck­i­est peo­ple in the surf­ing in­dus­try to have a Wave Gar­den as my of­fice.

The whole op­er­a­tion seems to be run­ning like a well-oiled ma­chine?

I think that ev­ery­one was re­ally quick to judge when we first in­stalled the ma­chin­ery and ran into some un­ex­pected prob­lems. Due to the scale of the project and it be­ing the first com­mer­cial Wave Gar­den in the world, it is nat­u­ral that it takes some time to find sys­tems that work both op­er­a­tionally and me­chan­i­cally. The engi­neers do a re­ally good job. It's like run­ning a mas­sive car: giv­ing it reg­u­lar MOT and check­ing your tyres but on a huge scale.

How is it go­ing back in the ocean now, do you have to ad­just?

When I go back in the ocean, it def­i­nitely takes time to ad­just, over time I have turned into a wave­pool surfer. My equip­ment is com­pletely dif­fer­ent, the rules are dif­fer­ent and also the tim­ings. It is more dif­fi­cult to prac­tice a spe­cific move in the ocean, get­ting two or three waves in an hour is more likely than the 37 I am now used to!

What’s on for the win­ter break?

I spent the last two win­ters in In­done­sia, one on a boat trip in the Mentawi with some of the WQS girls which was the best trip of my life. An­other win­ter at Lakeys which is like a nat­u­ral wave gar­den. I would like to stay closer to home in Europe this year, let me know if you’ve got a space on a trip!

IN­TER­VIEW AND POR­TRAIT BY SHARPY AC­TION SHOT BY STEVE ENG­LAND

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