Who says QSs are boring? David Weight may be a 50-year-old cost data manager, but he is also a champion surfer who spends every spare moment riding the waves
The surfers in the cult British film Blue Juice are bleached-blonde hippies who drive rusty VW vans. When they are not negotiating dangerous riptides or catching tubes, they hang out in a Cornish café, listening anxiously to the weather forecast. They never seem to work, and if they do, it's the odd shift in the café. In short, they are bums. The film annoys Currie & Brown cost data manager David Weight. The 50-year-old QS, you see, is a surfer with a proper job.

"The media always portray surfers as druggie drop-outs, but a lot of people who surf work hard and fit it in around their jobs," he says.

Weight is no weekend boogie boarder – he's a champion. He won the English veterans over-45s surf championships in 1995 and 1996, and hopes to win again this year.

Dressed in a nondescript grey suit, the 6 ft 6 QS looks younger than many businessmen his age and has the healthy complexion of one who spends a lot of time outdoors, which he does – thanks to his fairly flexible hours.

He works mainly from home, corresponding with the office by e-mail and phone. About half his time is spent visiting Currie & Brown's offices in south and west England, explaining Live Options, the life-cycle costing computer model he developed for the company, which is now being rolled out office by office.

This arrangement allows Weight to live by the sea, in Poole, and take long lunch hours to "nip out for a quick surf" when conditions are right. "I'll take, say, an hour and a half and make up the time in the evening. I'm better for it. I haven't had a day off sick in three years."

Weight surfs mainly in Bournemouth and along the Dorset coast. He became interested in surfing as a teenager and can pinpoint the exact moment he was bitten by the bug.

"I was 18. I was on a date at the cinema, and at that time, it was customary to snog through the B-movie, which in this case was Ride the Wild Surf. The girl I was with got completely ignored. I still remember the feeling that 'this is what I've got to do'. And I still remember the row afterwards."

Weight moved to Cornwall, caught his first wave and got hooked. And, like the drop-out surfers in Blue Juice, he did his share of odd jobs to support his surfing habit – "probably just about every job you can do, I've done".

He was a lifeguard for several years which, he jokes, was "more boring than being a QS". He also worked as a surf instructor in the Cornish village of St Agnes.

Sensibly, Weight decided to get some qualifications, taking an ONC and HNC in building at Camborne Technical College, which enabled him to get better paid work as an architectural technician at the local council. He also moved to west Wales – where the waves are also good, funnily enough – to work for Camarthenshire County Council.

He came second in the British surfing championships while he was a student in Camborne and was, he says, "considered quite good". But the idea of turning professional was unheard of in the 1960s.

Weight knew that being an architectural technician was not for him, but he wanted to stay in construction. So, at 28, he started a BSc in quantity surveying at Bristol Polytechnic.

He has been in the business ever since, joining Currie & Brown in 1995 and developing a program that implements his long-held ideas on cost-planning software: "I'm interested in integrating energy calculations for a building with cost-planning tools."

Although he spends more time in a pinstripe suit than a wetsuit these days, the QS is still addicted to the buzz he gets from surfing. He never misses a shipping forecast in case there is a big swell coming in from the Atlantic and he has taught three of his six children to surf.

"It's an incurable passion," he says. "I'm calmer if I've been for a surf. It washes your troubles away."

Personal effects

What’s your favourite film? Star Wars What car do you drive? A Nissan Serena van – for all those children and surfboards. Where would be your ideal place to surf? I think I’m a bit old for the big waves in Hawaii, so it would have to be Indonesia. Who do you admire? Jimmy Saville, because he helps others but he achieves something personally, too. What’s your favourite building? A particular house at Porthleven in Cornwall that has a great view of the sea. What book are you currently reading? Anything by Roald Dahl, to my kids.