A former world surfing champion has set up a business to bring water sports to North Somerset as lockdown restrictions ease.

Backwell-based Waiike provides a rental service for water sports equipment which encourages residents to keep active and try new activities.

Owner, Shaun Holmes, highlighted his belief that outdoor activity will be key for people adjusting to life after lockdown as the UK Government's roadmap brings the district into phase two.

%image(14192157, type="article-full", alt="Shaun Holmes says he founded Waiike 'out of frustration' after finding it difficult to get ahold of water sports equipment.")

Shaun said: "The business was born out of frustration - in the UK there is not a lot of equipment readily available for beginners. And the stuff that is available will be expensive.

"We are able to deliver equipment to your door, whether you need it for a short break away or just to visit the marine lakes."

Shaun moved to Backwell from South Africa where, in 2000, he picked up a national championship in surfing and later became a British champion.

%image(14192158, type="article-full", alt="Waiike has previously held open days for people to test their equipment on Weston's Marine Lake.")

After a stuttering start, Waiike is back on the waves in anticipation of a busy Weston summer.

Shaun said: "We have the website live where people from all skill levels can order, we have inflatable surfboards, paddleboards and wind sails for beginners and more advanced equipment.

"I am a firm believer in seeking out the positives in any situation. The lifting of the current restrictions is a wonderful respite.

"Outdoor sports and activities are a great way to socialise - even more so to avoid going back into lockdown. Water sports offer so many additional advantages and the UK’s coastlines and inland waterways are truly wondrous."

%image(14192159, type="article-full", alt="Waiike's owner believes residents should take advantage of North Somerset's "wonderous" waterways.")

North Somerset Council's executive for the environment, and Backwell councillor, Bridget Petty has stated that Waiike will offer a great service for those who want to admire North Somerset's landscapes.

Cllr Petty said: "After a tough year and missing out on lots of activities, I think this business venture is just one example of a growing visitor economy.

"For visitors and residents to get out on the marine lake, on the coastline or our riverways is a magical way to celebrate the landscape and environment North Somerset has to offer.

"Supporting local businesses has never been more important and this is a great example of it."