What lies behind the thick sunscreen and sunglasses of your average surf instructor? Is this the perfect career setup for a surfer — or mundane, low-paid employment for those who can’t do any better? Do they do it for the love of the ocean — or for the fleeting affections of a Swedish backpacker?
GrindTV talked to a group of experienced surf instructors on the condition of anonymity and found out what they really think about their “dream job.”
Unfortunately, many students just aren’t cut out to surfMany students come to classes with the dream of getting to their feet, cutting across a smooth wave face and finishing on the sand with a shaka and a smile. However, in the first 10 seconds of a practice session on the beach, surf instructors can usually tell whether you will be able to stand up or not.
In the majority of cases, the answer is usually in the negative. Instructors will do their best, but even their most focused efforts will often never overcome the inherent physical limitations of many would-be surfers.
The great outdoors ain’t all sunshine and cool breezesFew jobs are spent out in the elements as often as that of a surf instructor — which is a good thing, right? For those stuck in a neon-lit office from nine to five, sure, but instructors do get battered by the wind, sun and sea.
Depending on the location, they can spend whole weeks freezing in thick wetsuits or burning to a salty crisp in the equatorial sun. Surf instructing might be great for the soul, but it’s terrible for the hair.
There are a lot of questionsWill I get a tube? Have you met Kelly Slater? Is my wetsuit inside out? Can you carry my board? Have you been to Hawaii?
Can I kneel first? What’s a duck dive? Will I be too cold? Will I be too hot? Does my bum look big in this? What’s a shaka?
Surf instructors need to answer many questions, often while holding a straight face. And no, your bum never looks big in this.
You don’t surf as often as you think you mightMost surf instructors got involved in teaching so they could spend as much time in the water as possible. However, while they do indeed log a lot of hours in the ocean, it is mostly knee deep in the shorebreak as they herd a class of 20 beginners around a swirling lineup.
It hurts even more when the waves are great and the instructors are forced to watch from close proximity.