From Office Design to Surf Life Saving

Back in 2013, we followed our Senior Designer, Jon Foster, for a week to get an idea of what it’s like to create inspiring office designs. You may remember that Jon is a regular in the Paramount office gym and often takes an early morning swim before work (although probably not as often as he’d like). He’s also completed the Cardiff Half Marathon and The Wales Swim to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, so it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Jon is also a qualified lifeguard and regular participant in Surf Life Saving.

Having highlighted the impressive white-collar boxing achievements of our other John, the “Aging Bull”, we thought it was only fair to recognise Jon’s accomplishments too. Paramount’s answer to David Hasselhoff recently completed the Welsh Surf Life Saving Championships; 2 days of competition including sea swims, boards, runs, sprints and more.

We’ll let Jon tell you in his own words how he got into the sport and what he achieved during his weekend of sun, sea, sand and Surf Life Saving.

Surf Life Saving – it’s a lifestyle thing

Relay Team

Masters Men’s Winning Sprint Relay Team

Let’s start with a brief introduction about what Surf Life Saving is all about; it’s based on the skills and fitness required to be a beach lifeguard. The goal is to be focused and prepared to act immediately to situations in order to prevent the loss of life.

The sport element, which has developed into a worldwide one, has grown from these core skills to become a multi-disciplinary sport covering many events on the beach, at the pool and, of course, in the sea. Surf Life Saving sees competitors from all ages, starting from as young as 7 years old, take part in races including swimming, boarding, surf ski, sprinting, running and the highly competitive flags event.

Beach Flags at the Welsh Championships

Beach Flags at the Welsh Championships

Barry Baywatch

During the summer of 2010 while visiting St. David’s where my eldest child was competing for the Nipper kids’ team at Rhoose Lifeguards, I went in for a swim in the surf. On coming out of the sea one of the club coaches said, “You should have a go at this with the adult team.” I wasn’t entirely sure at the time what the adult team (or Masters as they are titled) did or exactly what ‘this’ was.

However, in the months that followed I signed up and began learning ‘the ways of the lifeguard’. I was already a keen runner and kept fit but quickly upped my training to include the various facets of the sport and competed at the Welsh Championships and the British Championships shortly after.

The Board Relay Team

The Board Relay Team

Coaching Nippers and Guarding Lives

For the last 5 years Rhoose Lifeguards Club has become our family’s second home with all of us involved in the various age groups, either competitively or in a coaching role.

Over the last few years I have taken on the role of a Nipper Coach with the club, teaching and training the kids’ team in the various elements of the discipline (a team of over 50 kids!). Friday nights have never been the same since, and I’ve now swapped ‘feet up and a glass of wine’ with sea swimming and beach sprints, not always in the best conditions I might add.

The Masters Men's Pool Team

The Masters Men’s Pool Team

It can be challenging competing as an adult and highly rewarding as a coach with the kids, but I still manage a glass of wine on a Friday evening. Only now it feels even more deserved!

I went on to enhance my knowledge of first aid and prevention by gaining my NaRS or beach lifeguards award, and qualifying as a beach lifeguard. The knowledge I’ve gained is a highly important life skill, not just for when at the beach.

Finishing the Swim Race

Finishing the Swim Race

Welsh Surf Life Saving Championships 2015

I was lucky enough to compete in the Welsh Surf Life Saving Championships 2015, on the 5th and 6th of September and came away with a ‘Welsh Champion’ gold medal in one event and silver and bronze medals in the others. So not a bad weekend! Next up for the Rhoose Lifeguards is Sian’s Walk or Water event, raising money for Velindre Cancer Centre.

The Sprint Relay

The Sprint Relay

It’s not quite the Bondi Beach Australian dream but it’s not a bad lifestyle on the South Coast (of Wales).

Written by Jon Foster, Senior Designer

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