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From surfboard designer to saving the NHS making PPE
1st July 2021

Josh Moffat, 30, Product Designer

Growing up in a family of creatives Josh was surrounded by inventiveness from a young age. Unlike most 10-year-olds who idolised sports stars and superheroes, Josh instead became fascinated by their armour – the kit and the tools they used to conquer their opponents.

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It was therefore a natural progression when he enrolled at the University of Nottingham to study for an undergraduate degree BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering, followed by a 12-month Masters MSc (Eng) in Product Design and Management at the University of Liverpool.

Here, Josh worked 18-hour days learning his craft. Travelling from Chester each day for a full day of lectures, he returned home to practice creating, designing, and sketching, perfecting his skills.

"Surrounded by likeminded people and encouraged by my family, I became passionate about design. I realised that I wanted to meet the needs of the user in a pragmatic way."

With a growing passion for the industry, Josh started to implement product design within his everyday life. He turned to his hobby and love of surfing and began to design a new and better board based on the principles he'd studied. Before long, Josh had designed and built his own surfboard, using YouTube to learn the manufacturing techniques he needed.

"I'd been aware of surfing from a young age, but I only started when I was 17. From the outside, it just looked like so much fun. I hired a board and had a go – I was hooked instantly. I did my masters' thesis on optimising surfboards for travel, which is where the Airwave brand name came from. The more I learned about surfboard design, the more I wanted to make something better."

A handful of surfboards later, Josh found himself launching Airwave Surfboards. Before long, through word of mouth, he grew his online presence and was running a successful bespoke surfboard design company from his garage. Airwave has grown into an exciting brand, where Josh designs bespoke boards for customers all over the world, using high end composites and sustainable materials.

He explained: "I can remember learning about composites, stress analysis techniques and fluid mechanics at Uni. I had no idea that I'd be using that same knowledge to design surfboards."

"There's a real satisfaction in knowing your designs are being enjoyed – seeing my clients jump off their boards, grinning from ear to ear after a great wave is still the best part of designing surfboards."

In 2019, Josh was working as a design consultant on high-profile projects in the respiratory and sports sectors when he was approached by Alpha Solway Director Steven Binnie for a role leading PPE product development and design at Globus Group.

He explained: "I saw a massive opportunity with Globus Group. The company doesn't operate in the same way as its competitors – it's fearlessness to try radical ideas was hugely exciting to me.

"It's been a real education to be involved in pandemic-related projects. The company has pushed its capabilities to new levels to help provide PPE for frontline workers. It's been a privilege to be part of."

Now, Josh is creating a new vision for the future of PPE and encourages anybody who is interested in design to follow their passion.

He said: "The world has changed the way it looks at PPE. It's now front and centre and everyone knows what it is. As designers, we've got an opportunity to change the face of an industry by bringing real innovation and fresh thinking into a space that's suddenly public facing. That's what we're trying to do at Globus."

"For anyone who's passionate about design and is interested in a career as a designer, I'd give you one piece of advice. Immerse yourself in the problems of the world around you, big or small. For me, and for Globus, design is about finding the right solution to the right problem, and to be a good designer, you need to be obsessed with solving problems and making things better."

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