Interview With Designer: Greg Gillespie

Photo: Mike – Greg Gillespie- NN – March 2015

The concept of finding a better way to run a local boardriders surfing competition really hit home late one Sunday in February of 2014…

It had been a long day at the beach, organising the first monthly contest for North Narrabeen Boardriders Club for 2014. The event kicked off in the usual fashion with the hussle and bussle of summer enthusiasm, with all the gromm’s chompin’ at the bit to get out there and carve it up.

The only difference for me, was my posting to the position of joint Contest Director with Dave Wood and Don Bronsveld, a fairly major promotion up from Head Judge, a position I had been awarded in previous years.

I thought that organising the event from a judging point of view took up a lot of time and energy, but it was purely nothing when compared to the chaotic mayhem of trying organise fair and seeded heats that everyone was happy with. There was an endless stream of requests to change my heat, change my rash vest because I am in back to back heats and I need to have the same colour on. Mix ups on the master sheet which became out of sync with the whiteboard that was the unfortunate result of all the demanding changes.

Wow, 25 years in the club and I thought I was doing my share of the work, just assisting with the judging responsibilities, man was I wrong. The role of contest director was one of intense pressure from whoa to go, even with two other blokes to help me out.

That night after returning home to rest my weary head, I lay down for a good night’s sleep, only to be woken at about 2am with the notion that there must be an app for this.

You’ve probably heard that expression, “there’s an app for that”, just like me, so I began to try and make sense of how an app could solve the whole list of repetitive tasks with our monthly contests.

Arising the next morning, I was determined to find that app. So out with the iPad at breky and off I dove into a bunch of searches. After quite some time and frustration, I reached the conclusion that there was no app out there that I could find that would do the job. After a couple of days scratching around the internet, it seemed that my idea was not yet a reality in any place I was looking.

With this realisation, that the app was not invented yet, I decided that the only remedy to this, was to start designing up something that would do the job myself.

Fast forward a couple of months of design mockups and revisions, and after a bunch of meetings with Jeremy Raper the NN Club President, a few user feedback sessions, testing on the beach and a general “hey what do you think of this?” approaches to several of the key members of the NN club, I was left with an overwhelming, “when can we have this?” response from one and sundry.

Probably the first person to ask if this would be ready for next month, was Twighty, our avid pointscore and rankings director of as many years as I can recall. Poor chap has been taking all the heat results and finals, to task with a spreadsheet, often times with entries missing or incorrect on the master sheets he has been supplied with. This much to the dismay of upset competitors who have chewed his ear off over the years. When I told him, it was just a concept at this point, his joy turned to resignation to the fact, he would crunching numbers for some time yet.

So with designs in check, it was off to find a developer for my idea, and some funding…