The Downtime Agenda

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  • Words — Julie Haslam
  • Images — Monique Easton

Hayden Cox, the man behind Haydenshapes Surfboards, finds solace in the ocean, coffee and yoga. He talks to us about the importance of nurturing balance and finding perspective in stressful situations.

Hayden Cox, in good shape.

How do you unwind? 
Surfing. Even if there are no waves, there is something about just getting in the salt water and getting wet that helps me unwind.

How important is downtime to you and what happens when you don’t get enough of it?
You need downtime, otherwise you burn out. When you burn out everything is thrown off balance – health, work and relationships. If you don’t nurture balance, things can come crashing down.

What’s the most stressful aspect of running your own business?
When you run your own business, you don’t really leave it all behind at the end of the day and it’s hard to switch off. I think that doing something you love and enjoy is the most important aspect of being able to manage the stressful moments. Sometimes standing back and putting things into perspective helps, i.e “We’re building surfboards… The world has bigger issues…relax”. I try not to take things too seriously and remind myself it’s business.

What is it about surfing?
Physically, you can really just disconnect. Disconnect from phones, internet, people, stress. I do some of my best thinking out in the surf.

Do you have any daily rituals?
I’m always up first in our household, so other than coffee duties, I’ll try and squeeze in a little bit of yoga a couple of mornings each week. I don’t go to classes or anything, I use an app that seems to do the trick.

What are you reading right now?
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – the creator of Nike.

What’s on your downtime playlist?
 A mix of everything. Flume, Nirvana, classical, Cut Copy, Jay Z, James Brown, Sia.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
I’m not really a movie guy. Maybe ‘Point Break’ – purely for nostalgic value.

Where is your ultimate travel destination for downtime?
I would have said a secret wave spot over in Mexico, up until my wife and I went to Tahiti a couple of years ago. We stayed at a place called Tikihau, not too far from Bora Bora. Take me back.

Who is your downtime partner in crime and why?
My wife Danielle and our dog Biggy. Danielle and I run the business together but strangely don’t seem to tire of each other’s company. We always have fun. And Biggy? Well he is down for anything, any time. He’s always frothing on life.