You never know where you’ll end up in this surf­ing life. Pem­brokeshire pro Jo Den­ni­son swapped chas­ing tour points for a nine-to-five with a dif­fer­ence.

Surf Girl - - Jobs In Surfing -

Jo, what’s your of­fi­cial job ti­tle?

Wa­ter Op­er­a­tions Man­ager at Surf Snow­do­nia.

How did you score the job?

I was vis­it­ing the pro­to­type wave gar­den near San Se­bas­tian in 2014 with my coach Martin Waltz, who was run­ning a pro­ject on the wave for his Mas­ter’s De­gree. I’d heard that they’d al­ready started build­ing one in North Wales, which 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 in any of the al­ready­fa­mous surf­ing des­ti­na­tions of Aus­tralia or Amer­ica, but in­stead it was in the val­leys of North Wales.

Is part of your job mak­ing sure that Surf Snow­do­nia’s wave is sur­fa­ble each day?

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… You may have no­ticed the staff surf ses­sions in the morn­ings.

Would you agree that in the world of the surf in­dus­try, you are one of the few peo­ple in the world pretty much guar­an­teed waves every day?

I have had to change my mind-set a bit, be­cause I used to spend six to eight hours in the wa­ter each 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 that 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, are you ever wor­ried some­thing is go­ing to break with the tech?

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 took some time to find sys­tems that work both op­er­a­tionally and mechanically. The en­gi­neers do a really good job, do­ing daily checks and dives to find any po­ten­tial issues be­fore they hap­pen. It is lit­er­ally like run­ning a mas­sive car – giv­ing it a reg­u­lar MOT and check­ing your tyres, but on a grand scale.

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

When I get back in the ocean it def­i­nitely takes time to ad­just; over time I have turned into a wave-pool 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!

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