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04th Sep 2018

Lovin Dubliners: Kris Goodbody Talks Living On A Canal Boat And Working Outdoors

Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

My mother always said I was a water baby. I would spend all my days at the beach, swimming in the sea until she’d drag me home. Thing is, I moved away from my seaside home and into the big city. I miss living by the water every day.

So when I met Kris Goodbody, I couldn’t help but be envious of his current living situation.

Kris has a barge at Grand Canal Dock. It’s a cosy little spot, ideal for one. As I sat down on the only couch available, I could see my cup of tea bobbing to and fro with the motion of the boat. Thankfully, it was a nice day so motion sickness had no chance of kicking in.

I looked around, it was one of the most adorable homes I’d ever visited. It had such character to it. I could tell that Kris had put a lot of effort into making this boat his home – he had book shelves, ornaments, pictures, a guitar and his signature hat hanging on the wall.

I could tell this wasn’t your average Joe Soap sitting across from me, this guy would have a story or two to tell.

From living in the water to setting up his very own company dedicated to water sports, I feel that Kris is the real definition of a water baby.

You live a pretty unconventional life, how did it all come about?

Kris started teaching kite surfing in Ringsend about 8 years ago and it all stemmed from there.

He had studied to be a journalist and gave it all up to start up his own kite surfing company, thus Big Style was born. The company now teaches kite surfing, SUPing, coasteering as well as hosting group trips and retreats.

“My parents thought it was class! My brother’s a doctor so they had one reliable career in the family so they let me loose, to do what I wanted to do. My ma was really supportive, she gave us a few quid when they sold the family home. My brother paid off his medical loan and I went and bought this barge from a farmer in Longford. It was empty on the inside so I had to spend a year saving up my own cash and building it up. The year before that I set up Big Style and nobody took it seriously at first. Everyone thought I’d grow out of it, go back to journalism but I just never did.

What is it that made you choose Big Style over journalism?

“First of all it’s the outdoors. I was always desperate to be outside doing something. Then the freedom of working for yourself and to go in your own direction. Working for yourself, you can come up with a mad idea and then just decide to pursue it.”

I could tell from our first encounter that Kris is a very driven individual. When he gets an idea he won’t rest until he’s made it happen. He is the driving force behind Big Style, he comes up with the idea and then works with his team to see how it can be achieved.

It seems that Big Style’s success comes from the fact that everyone on the team has their own talents. Kris is the director, creator. George manages the company, Ben does the marketing and branding. That, and the fact that they’re all really sound people.

The dream team.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

“The toughest part is that you’ll never, ever, ever, stop working. You’re never off the clock.”

During our interview, Kris’ phone had been flashing every couple of seconds. This was probably the longest time he had gone all day without responding to any messages.

What’s it like living on a canal barge?

“I’m right in the heart of the city with water all around me. There’s also a great sense of community here, everyone living here knows each other and helps each other out.”

Just like any situation however, there’s pro’s and cons.

Kris explained that there’s something to be fixed or looked at on almost a weekly basis. it also gets baltic in winter.

If you’d like to learn more about Kris and Big Style, click here.

If there’s someone you’d love for us to interview, leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Header image: @go.bigstyle