Paul who works with me on wholesale here at howies is a man of routine. He never arrives at work before 9.30am. Lunch will be over an hour and will always consist of a sandwich, crisps, pick and mix, a pint of milk and some time surfing the internet. The pick and mix combination will always contain milk white chocolate buttons covered in 100's and 1000's. He hates using public lavatories.
If he is ill, it will always be on a Monday or a Friday. And during every web browse he will log onto the weather forecast and surf cams. He checks out the pressure systems, the radar, wind speed and direction, analysing every scrap of information
to make a decision about whether to surf and which location will offer the best wave. And when the surf cam shows a great wave, he shows me.
I've never surfed, and before I came to howies I would never have taken the time to understand the aesthetics of what I was looking at 'cause it was just a breaking wave. But by listening to Paul's enthusiastic explanations I now realise the potential. See, before I worked at howies, I worked in the bike industry and I did bikes every day for 16 years. Bikes. Biking. Bikers. I was so focused on the world I was immersed in, that all other sports I did got left behind. I omitted all appreciation of others sports.
But since the move to howies, I have started running, canoeing, snorkeling, fishing (hobby not sport), river swimming, climbing and hiking. Pete and Paul have explained skate tricks and surf terminology so I can now read a skate mag and understand the skill and have an idea of what makes them buzz. I can skate round the warehouse without fracturing my pelvis. Alex chats about his windsurfing kit and I get why he sparks. And since my ravings about mud, roots and rocks they give me less grief for the Lycra.
I now realise that all of us in sport have one common trait in our personalities, which is the ability to appreciate the aesthetics of another sport if we are open to taking the time to look.
So whether it's a 3ft and glassy wave, a 360 flip, a windsurfing 30ft forward loop or a raging rain-filled river, I now take time to appreciate other sport.
Whatever you do this summer, make this the one you try a new sport. Ask that mate who does some crazy sport and rants on how good it was at the weekend blah blah blah, to take you out and show you their buzz.
I'm going to make the time to take Paul up on his offer to teach me to surf (if it's still open to me now I've let all his little secrets out the bag), 'cause I want to walk a long board, not shuffle it.