What do you currently do?
I work on a private yacht. I look after the maintenance on the deck and I am their professional kite boarding instructor.
The yacht is Pacific based. I joined the yacht in Tahiti and since then I have been to New Zealand, Fuji, Maldives, Bali and the Marshall Islands.
How long have you performed the role?
I have worked on the yacht for the past two years and I have been a professional kite boarder for 16 years.
How did you obtain the role?
I joined a lot of agencies who specialize in this work and also asked friends if they knew of any positions. I was put in touch with the Captain who had a position available.
How did you get into Yachting and Sailing?
I have always been around boats. I completed my first sailing course when I was 7 years of age and as a teenager I sailed toppers and lasers and took part in races. I sailed throughout school and at university (where I studied for an Engineering Degree in Naval Architecture at Southampton). Whilst at university I undertook the RYA Dinghy Instructor course and spent the summer holidays teaching sailing in the Mediterranean. I managed to get my first teaching job on Menorca, which was somewhere I had been on holiday. I met the people I ended up working for at the London Boat Show.
I obtained my RYA Yacht Master qualification, which allowed me to work as a freelance Skipper. This involved me taking boats from the factories in Plymouth, Poole and Southampton and delivering them to various places in Europe. After this, I worked for Artemis Corporate Sailing on their support boat.
How did you get into Kite Boarding/Surfing?
I got into kite boarding/surfing as a development from sailing. I turned to kite boarding when it was too windy to go sailing. I became hooked on it straight away. I really enjoy being able to skim over the water and the freedom of being out on the water by myself and harnessing the power of the wind.
After working in Menorca I obtained a sales job at a yachting company. Whilst there, I attended a Kite Surfing Instructor Course and decided that I wanted to pursue kite surfing and obtained a job at the local kite surfing/windsurfing shop. I taught kite surfing at the weekends during my time off and then progressed to working 6 months in the UK and 6 months in Australia, where I taught kite surfing in Perth. I found the job in Perth by flying out with my CV and walking around talking to people. In Perth my responsibilities were to build the kite boards in the back of a shop, work in the shop and teach people in the afternoon. There I met the person who influenced me the most. He was a Maui and he owned the shop. He was also a professional windsurfer and wrote for windsurfing magazines. He represented the US team in wrestling at the Olympics and was the most positive, nicest and inspirational person I have ever met. He taught me to follow my passions. I worked at the shop for 2 years and set up my own kite surfing school there.
My next move was to Necker Island. A friend of mine was working as a watersports instructor on the island and I heard that they had a vacancy for a kite surfing instructor. I applied but didn’t get the first position as the application date had passed. I kept persisting and writing to them and then I got offered some work for a couple of months. I took this and it turned into a full-time position. I worked on Necker Island for 31/2 years and really enjoyed it.
How do you qualify to become a Professional Kite Boarder?
For the most up to date information, I recommend that you contact British Kitesports - https://www.britishkitesports.org/ and the International Kite Boarding Association - http://internationalkiteboarding.org
Words of Advice
• Figure out what you want to do in your life and focus and aim for it.
• Perseverance is key. Things may not always work out at first, but you have to keep trying and focus on what your passion is.
• Money is secondary. Follow your passion and you will find a way to make money from what you enjoy.
• Networking is very important. Keep speaking to people and get to know those who are working in the industry already.
• Speak to clubs and organisations dedicated to the area you want to work in and ask for their advice.
The scenery is stunning and the people you meet are great.
It can be hard being away from friends and family. I work 3 months on and have 1 month off.