A former surf coach with a sports coaching background… our surf retail manager Josh has travelled the world in search of waves.
He’s also a self-confessed surf geek. Ask Josh anything you like about fins, boards, leashes, wetsuits, deck grips or tail pads (and plenty more!!) and he’ll be able to give you informed, intelligent and personally tailored advice about which products will work best for you.
In fact, Josh can help you with all sorts – from hints and tips on catching our waves to the best secret surf spots around the globe to head for on your next holiday!
Josh is always up for a chat, so please do drop in and say hello next time you’re passing. In the meantime, we’ve grilled him for answers to a few essentials…
I grew up on the south coast of England not too far from Bournemouth.
It was on holiday in Cornwall when I was around 12 or 13. I managed to convince my dad to let me hire a board from the local surf school and was hooked from then.
I’m a goofy surfer. I surfed longboards until I was in my early 20s, and I loved cruising and the relaxed style of longboarding. Now I’m very strictly a shortboarder – it’s all about how fast I can go! Having said that, I do throw in the odd fun board foamy session to keep things fresh. It helps to iron out the creases when I feel I’m hitting a bit of a plateau.
I started at APS in March 2018 as a full-time surf instructor. I was fresh off the plane from three years in Australia and New Zealand and timed it perfectly as APS was hiring! I worked as an instructor up until July 2019 when the opportunity to take over the surf shop arose.
First up was the fact that Adventure Parc Snowdonia was the world’s first commercial wavepool, and a pioneer of this big new global trend. But it was also that the team is great – I’ve been lucky with who I’ve gotten to work with and meet during my time here – some really top coaches and surfers. With consistent waves every day it’s the perfect place to keep on improving my surf. And there’s always one of the other coaches watching to give me feedback on my form, which is great.
I love the fact that I can help our customers out in a different way. And I really love talking to people about the things that they are passionate about. If I can provide some good advice so that surfers are able to pick up the best equipment for what they need and enjoy their surfing even more then I’m happy.
I am a huge surf equipment and tech geek. I’ve been studying boards, fins, wetsuits and the rest for as long as I’ve been involved in surfing. I’ve tried out pretty much everything we stock, which means I can give really genuine feedback. I would never want anyone buying the wrong bit of kit getting bummed out by it, so I make sure I try, test and get as well-informed about our products as it is possible to be.
What I really like is that we get surfers at all different stages of their surfing ‘careers’, from beginners to seasoned vets. It’s great to engage with all of them. Seeing the excitement of new surfers buying their first wetsuit or board is great. And with the more experienced surfers, it’s awesome just chatting surf spots around the globe and helping to kit them out for their next trip.
My favourite products in the store… I really like our Surf Snowdonia tee’s and hoodies – and obviously I’d say that they are an essential piece of kit 😊. Our Stance socks are great because they’re just so comfy. But I have to say the ‘Surf Ears’ ear plugs might just be the best bit of kit I’ve ever purchased. Keeps the water out but I can still hear perfectly – so no more ear ache for me!
My favourite wetsuit is the O’Neill Hyperfreak 5/4+ hooded suit. It’s warm enough for the winter swells but so comfy and stretchy. It feels like you’re wearing a 3/2.
My favourite board is the ‘FRK’ by Slater Designs. It’s a classic high-performance shortboard, nice and simple but goes amazing. So much so I have just ordered myself one! Another favourite is the No Brainer by Slater Designs – it’s so easy to ride anyone can get on it and rip. It’s nice and flat which makes it really fast, so it goes great in the wavepool here. And the faster you go, the better you surf – right?
I think the best bit of advice I can give anyone is don’t be afraid to pay that bit more and get a good wetsuit. I have seen so many people freezing and uncomfortable in the water because they have picked up a suit from a budget beach shop. A good wetsuit has the potential to increase your experience 10-fold because it allows you to stay in the water for longer, move more easily and ultimately have a much better surf experience.
I just want everyone to feel that no matter what product they are looking into – even if it’s something we don’t stock – they should feel they can come pick my brain about it because I can always help, advise and add value. To be honest, I just love it when people stop by for a chat, just like I used to at the surf shop on the beach where I grew up.