Thursday, 6 May 2010


chris hines
Chris Hines with his trusty 7'2. Photo: Andy Hughes

Journalist, campaigner, environmentalist, media presenter, motivational speaker, inspirational thinker and of-course, last but definitely not least, surfer. Chris's love affair with the sea has taken him from being more than just a participant to dedicating his life to making not only the ocean, but the environment as a whole something we can all enjoy for many generations to come.

When did you become aware of surfing?

My folks first took me to Widemouth when I was a couple of months old. Earliest memories are from when I was about 4/5 and I had my own wooden bellyboard by age 6! First proper board aged 12. There was a great surfing book in Tavistock School library and I used to always read it in library session!

Can you remember catching your first green wave?

Think my first green wave was during an epic 5 hour session when I was 13 at Sennen. Just pushing out and catching small inside waves and one suddenly reformed...

I know you try and get in the water as much as possible, just what exactly is it that keeps you coming back for more?

Being in the water, one decent wave and it's been a good session. That interaction with natural energy and the environment. Being away from the pressure of normal life. Importantly, every day has something and even if it's not great surf then remember that you could be a member of the Bosnian surf team at which point 2 ft onshore mush would be the best day of the decade!

backside cover up
Going for a backside cover up! Photo: Andy Hughes

Any particular board over the years that you would pick as a favourite?

The board I currently ride and have been riding for 5 years or so. 7'2 mini mal. Ultra light and thin. I can pretty much surf anything I want on it. It's beaten to the point of nearly being more ding than board but because it's a Homeblown blank the foam is hydro phobic and doesn't suck water so remains light. I love it!

What board do you ride these days?

Ditto above - also have a fat nose heavier mini mal for those tiny days - slide!

How do you feel about surf travel and are there any particular places you'd like to surf yourself?

Surf travel is an element of surfing that has always been there and has helped spread the sport. With climate change it's a hard one and one we should all think about. The guys from Rough Guide and Lonely Planet recommend staying longer once you have travelled and I'm sure that will be music to surf travellers ears. But seriously, value it and try to ensure that you blend and don't just take. I've been to Morocco many times and surfed a break down there nearly 30 years ago that had only 5 or 6 of us in the water on a 300 yard right hander. Now it's packed but still sweet!

You've witnessed the incredible boom in surfing's popularity, what are your views on that?

Kind of inevitable boom - it's such a great thing to do that it was bound to get really popular. Wetsuits have made a huge difference. Even though it's packed you still get good quiet sessions - I had a couple at Porthtowan which is a very popular break, in April - peak to myself and 45 minutes of every wave I wanted. Think people should mellow out a bit and enjoy other people having a wave. Call someone into a wave and take pleasure from that. If someone is in a better place don't try and snake them.

What effect do you imagine the apparent continuing growth of surfing will have in the next 5-10 years?

More people in the water and more breaks discovered and surfed. It's amazing what people do now and the waves they surf.

And following on from the last question; Do you see any differences in the attitude or approach to life of the younger generation?

Every generation was the younger generation once and will be the older generation in time. Have respect for everyone. It's definitely more hassley in the water now when it gets crowded but some of the hassle is from the older crew as much as the younger. Enjoy it.

There can't be very many MBEs sitting out in the lineup, how do you feel about receiving that award?

Obviously a great honour and who'd have thought it! But it's just me, same as I (it) ever was (Talking Heads).

Chris Hines Mermaid Beach
Chris at Mermaid Beach, Australia and yet another CSO. Photo: Swilly

Does music play a part in your life?

Love music of all kinds, have a good sound system and computer linked in.

You've attended your fair share of gigs, having organised the SAS Ball for many years and been involved with music events at Eden, are there any live performances that stand out for you?

I was privileged to introduce the bands onto stage at the SAS Ball. Faithless would have to go down as one of the highlights but there were many great bands who played the Ball and some great DJ sets. Can remember seeing Joan Armatrading and Supertramp on same gig when I was 13. She was back up artist. Lee Scratch Perry at the Cornwall Coliseum (now defunct!). Crickey could go on all day...

Do you have a favourite book or author?

Highest Tide by Jim Lynch, all John Le Carre, the Michael Peterson  biography, John Pilger - Heroes (everyone should read this!).

How about films?

Avatar is brilliant! Free Ride, always amazing. Films of our times, Apocalypse Now, All That Jazz...

Are you interested in any other art forms?

Photos of the likes of Andy Hughes (buy his Dominant Wave Theory), Kurt Jackson, gob smacking sculptures and obviously you just can't beat the art of nature...

You've taken a very pioneering approach with your work, were there any specific influences for that or is that just a natural process for you?

Natural process, and I guess many people of my age grew up seeing Maggie Thatcher and the scrapping of society in her eyes. Miners strikes, threat of nuclear, if I see injustice it kind of makes me have to have a go!!!

Who or what inspires you?

Natural world, friends, people who are in really tough places in life and yet do amazing things. When I was in my early teens I used to go on holiday to Sennen and watched Harvey Hoare, Rob Smith and Colin Wilson surf. Along with the late Paul "Ju" Jury and Paul Westaway from Widemouth these were key influences on my surfing.

chris hines stoked
Chris, always stoked. Photo: Andy Hughes

You've been involved with numerous projects over the years, any that you are particularly proud of?

SAS! Some of the talks I get to do that set out to inspire change. Helping to organise the Live 8 concert at Eden - 3 weeks and we nailed it (Howard Jones was another key player in that but a great team effort). Nelson Mandela talked to Eden live from Jo'Burg and Jo'Burg could see Eden. Blue Gym has got off to a good start with a great national launch and some good things happening.

Chris your past achievements and activities are many and well documented, so just what exactly do you have on your passport now as occupation?

Environmental consultant. You have to be a bit careful otherwise you might not get in!

What's next?

A Grain of Sand - my new company/organisation - inspiring and driving change. Watch this space - wesbite shoud be ready and launched end of June!

Thanks Chris.

Chris Hines is a co-founder of SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) and former Director. He was Sustainability Director at the Eden Project 2001-2007. Chris was awarded an MBE for services to the environment in 2008. He is involved in the start up of Blue Gym as well as a freelance motivational speaker and adviser on a variety of issues.

1 comment:

  1. Nice one. I met Chris briefly many years ago in the Langland Bay hotel I think it was around '90 or '91 when SAS were just getting going with my mate Phil "The Fish" Jones who was our local guy trying to help pull it all together, plus of course local boyo made good Carwyn Williams who was recovering from busting his leg up in a French car crash.
    Went to maybe the first or second ball on the Aggie headland that year too. No recollection at all of who played. Great night.
    Good to see you keeping it up Chris!