17 Mar WHY BECOMING AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY INSTRUCTOR WILL BE THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE
The education system makes you believe that if you take all the right steps in school, you’ll carve a path into your ideal job post-uni. So why, after almost 20 years of education, did I still not know what my dream job was?
When I graduated from university, I had earned a business degree along with a stark reminder that becoming a travelling surfer was a pipe dream. Designed only for pro surfers with sponsorship deals or for those that lived paycheck to paycheck. What they didn’t teach me in all these years of studying, and no doubt have failed to mention to you too, was that this IS actually achievable. No, I’m not a pro surfer (I wish!) but I don’t only go abroad when I’ve scraped enough pennies together either.
What’s my secret? I teach surfing and outdoor activities. It’s hard to imagine this being considered a ‘job’ when the work perks are so good.
The beach is my office, my uniform is a wetsuit, my feet are bare and my hair is salty. I get to spend the majority of my time in the location I love, teaching fun activities to a whole range of people. I never have to sit inside when it’s beautifully sunny outside, and although it does rain (we live in England of course) the sea is the perfect place to be! I started out my career as a surf instructor, then progressed to teach coasteering, kayaking and paddleboarding. It’s awesome to know that the list doesn’t have to stop there either, it’s possible to spend your week teaching a different activity every day; talk about mixing it up!
The Opportunity to Travel
After my first summer season in the UK, I had earnt enough money to go travelling around exotic parts of south-east Asia. I found myself surfing and exploring in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, The Philippines and Singapore. I came back for another season in Cornwall and the following winter decided I wanted to go somewhere hot again. This time I wanted to continue working so I taught surfing in South Africa and Mozambique. I’ve also been to California and New Zealand since as well; I’m forever chasing the endless summer!
The Personal Benefits – Fitness + Surfing improvements
It’s a misconception that you have to be a sick surfer to become a surf instructor. Although I’ve always had that typical ‘surfer look’, sporting blonde, curly messy hair and a brown face that doesn’t match the rest of me, I didn’t see a massive spike in my progression until I became an instructor. With the opportunity to surf more, free tips from fellow instructors and improvements in your fitness from being so active, it’s not just the client who can learn lots!
You meet people from all walks of life, some want to cross surfing off their bucket list and others want to carve an outdoors life with surfing and the ocean in the centre. I’ve taught petrified 5-year-olds to stand up on their first wave following tears of ocean-based fear. I’ve taken people from surfing a foamie to riding a shortboard in 10 weeks. I’ve met people from all over the world but my favourite lesson has to be teaching my mum. She’s been living in Cornwall since she was 2 but amazingly had never been on a surfboard, we soon changed that!
It’s not just the new customers you meet every day, but also the instructors you spend time with for hours on end. I’ve worked at 3 different surf and outdoor activity schools since completing my qualification, and one of the best parts of the job is the like-minded, awesome people you work with. Just like me, these guys want to catch waves all of the time, thank you for the ready-made surf crew!
In all honesty, when I graduated from university I saw surf instructing as a way to pass the time until I figured out what I wanted to do. But it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.
Whether you instruct part-time or all year, in your home town or half-way around the world, for someone else or for yourself; the possibilities are endless. For me, it led me to coordinate events for Women + Waves whilst working on the operations for Newquay Activity Centre and Bodyboard Holidays. Although it’s not a pathway that was ever promoted in school, deciding to become an instructor has opened so many doors and suits my lifestyle perfectly. After all, shouldn’t we be genuinely happy while we’re at work?
Does this sound like something you’d love? ☀
Get the qualifications and skills to start your dream job on the beach! Find out more about our Outdoor Activity Instructor Academy.