BOOTHCAST BREAKS NEW GROUND
When COVID-19 shut the sporting world shut down, Michael Booth had more reason than most to be concerned.
The Australian waterman has made a career out competing on his surfski and stand up paddle board all over the globe.
It’s certainly one of the more enviable jobs, but it is still a job. Yet in the blink of an eye, he was out of work.
“I read something like, ‘in times of crisis you can either feel sorry for yourself, or get up, get on with it and find new things to do,’” Booth says.
“I have that active mind where I feel like can never stop. I have to do something and move forward in some way.
“I spent about a week feeling sorry for myself, then I started thinking, ‘well, what can I do?’ And I just got on with that.”
That solution was the Boothcast – a daily discussion with one of his many accomplished friends delving into their life story, available as a podcast or video.
With racing on hold, his initial priority was to provide exposure and value to his sponsors. But he quickly realised his passion for the new project.
“I’m very interested and very intrigued in other people’s lives and how they do things.
“That’s the general theme that’s been coming through in the Boothcast. It’s been a really fun process.”
The Boothcast packs plenty of star-power. Surfski, SUP and iron person champions, multi-national business executives and even cult icons like waterman Kai Lenny have all now featured. But to Booth, they’re just mates.
“Everybody is human. Everybody has their own story. Just because they’re successful doesn’t mean they’re any different to you and me,” he says.
“The goal is just to help other people embrace the sport. I think that’s something I’ve learned since doing the podcast and other things over time, it all comes down to sharing paddling and sharing the excitement that I get from it.
“The people who resonate with that will get something out of it and that’s why I do it.”
He admits he’s been “surprised” by it’s uptake, but it’s just rewards for thinking outside of the box. That’s something Booth has done throughout his entire career. Whether that’s balancing multiple disciplines or in his innovative approach to business and social media – he’s always been prepared to take a risk.
“I have my own voice, and I think I was afraid to share that initially,” he admits.
“But whether it’s surfski or going to SUP or going to kayaking, I was always doing something different. I wasn’t sticking to the mould, and I’ve never been afraid to step outside of my comfort zone.
“The goal is just to help other people embrace the sport. I think that’s something I’ve learned since doing the podcast and from other experiences over time. It all comes down to sharing paddling and sharing the excitement that I get from it.
“The people who resonate with that will get something out of the Boothcast – and that’s why I do it.”
Producing the project has been hard work. Booth spends hours each day recording and editing each epside and that shows in his output.
He’s now entering his eighth week and in that time he’s posted an episode each day.
“When I first started, my brother and my mum texted me saying, ‘don’t you think you’re doing them too fast?’” He laughs.
“But every time I interview someone, I think of another one for the list.
“You do realise how big your network is. It’s just so nice to talk to all of these different successful people.
And that discovery means that the Boothcast won’t end once racing does resume.
“What form it will be in, I’m not sure,” he says.
“But I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking to people. Now I just have an excuse to call them up and talk to them for two and a half hours and they schedule it in!
“It’s not something that I see as a job, it’s something I do anyway.
“I love calling people and talking about everything and anything under the sun. Whether I make income out of it not, it’s not something that matters to me.
“That’s the same as when I started surfski paddling.”