Wired UK | The Wave & Wavegarden

51.447675, -2.609446 | 43.253666, -2.251895


Matt Porteous was recently commissioned by Conde Nast publications, to shoot at two artificial wave pool locations for Wired UK Magazine.


The Wave, founded by Nick Hounsfield, will be opening in Bristol in October 2019. Matt took a quick flight over the Channel to check out the construction work and have a look around the site that will soon be open to the general public. Matt connected with Nick and took his portrait within the unique environment that he has created, and found that he is such a great guy, with an inspirational story. 


Back in 2010, Nick was working as an osteopath and noticed that many of the health issues that people were facing were a result of inactivity, lack of movement, disconnection from nature and a breakdown in social connections between humans. 


As a result of a love of surfing from a young age, nature and wild spaces, Nick came to realise that getting people outside and moving, doing something as enjoyable as surfing, could be the solution to their physical and psychological issues. After losing his father in 2011, Nicked vowed to ‘do something bold, something that would leave a positive impact on the planet and society.’

Creating an artificial wave pool is a bold and awesome move, with a vision of more than just a wave: The Wave is a way to educate young generations about water safety, a way to highlight and battle mental health, and generally create an ocean community further from the shoreline. 

‘I feel the mental health benefits more than the physical. It comes from having a sense of space with pockets of excitement from the waves; the calm between those waves is just as important as the surfing itself.’

Although Matt was restricted in what he could photograph because of the ongoing construction, he thoroughly enjoyed visiting the site and exploring the incredible journey that Nick has been on over the years. He has created a space where people who are currently unable to access decent surf will soon be able to score a great, personalised wave at any time. His portrait, amidst the amazing structural design which is integral to The Wave, captures Nick’s spirit and energy for the project which people will soon be lucky enough to duck dive into.

A couple of weeks later, for the same article, Matt flew to San Sebastian, where he found the Wave Garden, which was founded back in 2005. This was designed by Basque brothers and engineers Josema and Fernando Odriozola, as well as German sports economist Karin Frisch, as a result of a combination of a love for surfing and experience building and designing skateparks.

Here, as part of a family of artificial wave experiences around the world, guests can see up to 1000 waves roll in per hour; a simple button can control the size, shape, power and frequency of each wave. This means that the wave can literally be designed for the surfer; whether a beginner wants a mellow, soft wave or a professional surfer wants to practice their barrels up to 2.4 metres, the Wave Garden offers it all. 

Matt spent the day with the Spanish professional surfers, surfing perfect barrel after barrel, and even squeezed in a little surf himself before the day was done. 

You can find the full story in Wired UK Magazine this month, and keep an eye on the opening of The Wave in Bristol in October. 




‘The Wave is about all the things we need to be addressing, you know. About a more holistic vision of life. It's about everything."

Photographer - Matt Porteous

Lighting Assistant - Ollie Jones

Camera - Fuji GFX 50s

Drone - DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Underwater Housing - Nauticam

With thanks to Wave Garden & Wired UK