Managing Risks as an Adventure Sports Addict
When he’s not busy working as a marketing director for Park Resorts, Richie can be found pedalling up a mountain or catching a wave in the surf.
“All holidays I go on are surfing or mountain biking related. I love the adrenaline rush but also the fact that you completely switch off from your everyday business stuff.” says Richie.
It Takes Over Your Life
Being able to forget the stresses of daily life and spend time with friends is what attracted Richie to adventure sports.
“Most adventure sports are good social activities. I spent one summer learning how to surf with friends. Once you can stand up, you just become completely addicted and your whole life is taken over by it.”
Obsessed by the high−thrill sport, Richie even started speaking the lingo.
“These sports totally consume you. I’ve become really involved in them and it’s even affected my speech too − I tend to say ‘dude’ quite a lot.”
His sense of adventure has helped Richie in his career, as some of his best ideas came to him while either surfing or mountain biking.
“It makes you really creative, so when you go back to business, you might not realise it but you’ll actually find that you’ve come up with loads of ideas.”
Pay Attention or Pay the Price
Richie believes flow psychology − a state of complete immersion in an activity − is what keeps him engaged when participating in adventure sports.
“The big thing about extreme sports is, because of their nature you engage a different part of your brain. You feel like if you think about anything other than the sport you’ll pay a big price.
“I was out in Bali not so long ago and if I hadn’t been paying attention on the waves, I could have badly injured myself on the shallow coral reef. ”
As well as giving these sports your full attention, Richie also says it’s important to know the area.
“With surfing you’ve got to know the different stages of tide. It can be a bit alarming if you don’t know how to get out, especially if there are loads of rocks around. It’s just knowing where you’ve got to paddle and assessing the conditions.
“There’s a reef break surf spot I go to in Woolacombe, North Devon. There were a couple of incidents where guys were misjudging the conditions. Fortunately they got in OK, but if they hadn’t known the area it may have been a different story.”
Make Sure you Manage the Risks
By managing the risks effectively, you can enjoy the great outdoors safely.
“You need to make sure you’ve got the right equipment with you. I was out biking last year, we had a novice guy with us and he took a bit of a tumble and broke his collarbone.”
“Fortunately we had enough clothing with us to keep him warm, but it was quite scary to see how quickly he went cold. We had to cuddle him in a very manly way to keep him warm.
“I’d definitely advise taking a survival blanket and first aid kit out with you, especially if you’re in a remote area,” says Richie.
Hollywood Inspired Me
It’s important to remember that anything could happen when you’re in a high−risk situation, says Richie.
“It’s especially bad with young males. I know when I was in my late teens and first getting into these sports, it was all about the adrenaline and it does create a lot of testosterone.
“You’ve only got to look at what happened to Aron Ralston in 127 Hours, he didn’t tell anyone where he was going and just thought he was completely invincible.”
The Oscar nominated film inspired Richie to create a survival app called Tokn.
“Seeing the film sparked the idea of the app. I just kept thinking about what a hassle it was to text someone and let them know where you are. I thought it’d be great if technology could do that for you.”
Enjoy the Thrills Without the Spills
Richie says it’s easy to forget about the risks involved when you become engrossed in adventure sports.
“The adrenaline really makes you feel alive and there are times when you forget about the risk element. You just think you’re there to have fun and it doesn’t occur to you to take precautions.”
Taking the appropriate safety precautions is something that is often overlooked by adventure sports enthusiasts.
“The message just needs to get out there that you can still do these sports and have a great time, but if you take a few small steps, you can protect yourself. It doesn’t need to turn into a drama, ” says Richie.
ID In Case of an Emergency
Richie says that using the Tokn app and wearing ID is the responsible way to take part in adventure activities.
“ID is definitely a good idea, particularly if you have a medical condition, obscure blood type or something like that. It’s a good way for emergency services to contact your relatives.
“I have a tag which I attach to my bag. It’s got my name, address, and next of kin printed on it. If something did happen, whoever found me would be able to contact my family.”
Richie also has friends with medical conditions who participate in adventure sports.
“My one mountain biking friend has quite bad asthma. He goes mountain biking a lot, it’s just about managing it well. We always make sure we know where his medication is kept and he also wears ID with his medical details on .
I Want to Help Save Lives
Richie and app co−creator Ed Pitt have been blown away by the worldwide usage Tokn has received.
“We’ve got people using it all over globe, from Sydney to Scotland. The best day for me will be the day when it actually saves someone’s life.
“I’m a bit of a hippy in that way. For me it’s not all about making money, you’re creating things that can potentially save lives. ”
If you have any health concerns please consult your GP before taking part in any adventure sport.