Windsurfing is not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle and whilst only a chosen few make a professional living as a windsurfer, many more see windsurfing inspire their career and business. Boards catches up with avid windsurfer Rebecca Lovatt, who has built up her own business to compliment her love of watersports and the outdoors, as well as support various charities.Name: Rebecca Lovatt Company and role: CEO and Founder of Bekl What is your windsurfing history? How did you get involved in the sport?
I have been windsurfing since I was 8 or 9. I remember attending a youth sports day at Carsington Water when I was 7ish and taking part in sports like rock climbing, canoeing and sailing which I’d never had the chance of trying before. I saw some people windsurfing and I thought it looked really fun. The next season my Dad took me and my friend along to Rother Valley Country Park to learn windsurfing on one of their Saturday morning programmes and I have been hooked ever since! Around the same time they were setting up a Team15 team so I helped found and captain the first Rother Valley Renegades team and then moved to be a team member of Carsington Comets due to losing funding and coaches at Rother Valley.
Team15 is a brilliant initiative to get people into racing but also to meet more like minded people. I still keep in touch with a lot of my old team mates and always find myself reminiscing about all the events we went to. This route also introduced me to the national circuit and I took part in a lot of national comps including the Youth and Masters which I won a couple of times in my category. Windsurfing has always been the sport for me – once you try something so fun, free and exciting I think it sticks with you as ‘your sport’ forever really.Do you still regularly windsurf? If so where and what are you looking to progress with on the water?
I get on the water as often as I can at the moment. I took a break through university as I just didn’t have the time or the money to continue, but over the past couple of years I’ve been on the water a lot more and I’m actually just off on holiday to Vassiliki for a well earned couple of weeks in the sun windsurfing (lets face it, it’s a little cold and gusty being a windsurfer in the UK, so it will make a nice change).
Before I stopped for university I was just trying to master the fun things like the planing carve gybe and waterstarts, so I’m hoping I can pick these up a little more on holiday and over the summer. I wouldn’t say I’m going to go back to racing, but I definitely want to push myself out of my comfort zone in some way. A few of my old friends are now getting into their slalom and freestyle and that’s something I definitely want to try at some point a little more. I’m not the next Sarah-Quita, but I can have a go I suppose!
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Bekl originally started as a positive idea – I wanted a way to spread a positive message all over the world because I was a bit fed up of seeing everyone around me being so unhappy with day to day life. I originally played about with quotes but after experimenting with my love of surf fashion and casual wear, decided on incorporating colours and symbols into my designs rather than focusing on words. Colours and symbols are universal so a lot of people can relate to them. If you see happy, bright colours, it instantly makes you feel happy. I’ve always been the sort of girl that lives in Converse, scruffy jeans and a t-shirt, so my bracelets are really designed around the style I love; I hope that’s why they’re so popular – they’re designed by a watersports enthusiast, for watersports fashion enthusiasts.
I originally did a Law degree but after 3 years of doing that, I decided it really wasn’t for me and so completed my degree but didn’t want to peruse that any further. I think it was probably a mixture of my love for the outdoors and fashion that led me into pushing Bekl the way it has gone, as well as my hatred for a career in the law!Who is involved with the company, how do you run a business and maximise your time on the water?
My partner of too many years to mention, Mat, is the other half of the Bekl business. He is the business brains behind a lot of it. I like to create and design and talk a lot to my customers, whereas he will look after the accounts, advertising and business meetings. Being my own boss, I’m quite lucky; if it looks like a beautiful windsurfing day when I check windguru, I can get my orders up to date either the night before or the morning, then head down to Carsington or Rother Valley for lunch time and spend the rest of the day on the water. I’m very lucky living so close to such amazing places!Who else supports Bekl and why should someone buy a bracelet?
We have a lot of windsurfers, celebrities and lovers of fashion who support Bekl! A lot of my old team mates swear by the bracelets to finish off an outfit, and the lovely Izzy Hamilton also sports some of our stuff when out and about. She’s such a great person to have on board as she’s just the sort of person who design for! Celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, AnnaLynee McCord (90210) and EVEN THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE (I’m a huge fan can you tell!?) have been spotted wearing our bracelets as well as many others! If the name drops don’t get you on board, we do an awful lot of work for our chosen charities. We have our Smile Bracelet which has been featured in Glamour Magazine, which raises money for Beat Bullying UK. They’re super cute! We also are looking at working with more water based charities within the next year so that’s also something exciting to look out for.
Where can someone purchase from? All our bracelets are available online from bekl.co.uk … we are hoping to have our bracelets in a watersports store/surf shop near you very soon too!