Jobulo | Industry Spotlight: Training to Be a Watersports Instructor - Jobulo
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Industry Spotlight

Jobulo looks at how workers progress in particular industries and how someone looking to excel in a certain profession can gain the advantage.

Industry Spotlight: Training to Be a Watersports Instructor

Are you interested in a career outdoors? Are you a sociable individual who’s interested in sport? Then a career as a Watersports Instructor could be for you.  Most Watersports Instructors spend their working days outside on the water, teaching people a variety of water sports – from surfing to paddle-boarding. So what does the job really involve? And how can you break into this industry?

The Jobulo team caught up with Will King, a Watersports Instructor at Easyriders, to find out more about the role and to ask for some CV tips.

Tell Us About Your Career Background?

I have always had an interest in water sports and outdoors sports so I did a degree in the Lake District on Outdoors Studies, which wasn’t vital for the career I am in but it gave me a good insight into the industry and I learned a lot through it. Then outside of uni I started travelling and gaining individual qualifications for kite surfing, paddle-boarding, sailing and other water sports. I then came back to the south coast where I grew up and I have been working at Easy Riders for the past four years now, teaching kite surfing and paddle-boarding.

How Did You Break Into The Industry?

Well I did my kite surfing instructors course through this company and part of the course afterwards is that you have to do shadow hours to get the full qualification. So I carried on and completed my shadow hours through this company and never left! I got on with the staff really well and once I started assisting teaching it just fit really well with the company. I carried on and started getting paid for what I did as a freelance instructor, getting paid when there was work and when it was windy, and they helped me to get into other sports such as power boating and things like that.

What Is a Typical Day Like at Work?

Every day is different which is good as the variety keeps it fresh and the role never becomes stagnant. I am now working in a management role so I might come into the office in the morning (hopefully we have got all the lessons booked up from the day before) and I can brief all of the instructors as they get there just before the lesson starts. So I’ll tell them the plan for the day which also involves checking all the weather forecasts and tide, so you can make a full session plan of how the day is going to run. Then we’ll do a meet and greet with the customers, find out why they are there and what their previous experience is and what they want to achieve. Then hopefully you’ll already have a previous idea of how the session is going to run, and choose locations accordingly. Then whether it’s kite surfing or paddle-boarding the bulk of the lesson is on the water and going through whatever level they are at. We do a variety of lessons from paddle-boarding tours to kite surfing lessons (from beginner to advanced), paddle-boarding yoga and racing. There is such a wide variety to it that as soon as you have the basic qualifications it opens doors to so many different things.

What Qualifications Are Needed to Become a Watersports Instructor?

To run a session yourself you do need to have the relevant qualifications. There are national governing bodies for both sports – the British Kite Sports Association and the British Stand-up Paddle Association – so you can get your instructor tickets through them. Then you can work in recognised centres. If you are starting out and don’t have any qualifications then definitely go along and start shadowing sessions at your local club or organisation and start assisting with sessions. That is probably the best way to get yourself in there and see what the career is all about really.

What Skills and Attributes Does a Person Need to Have to Be Successful In This Industry?

You’ve got to be enthusiastic for the sports initially. You can’t teach it unless you have a love for the sport. To teach these things, although paddleboarding for instance can be quite leisurely, you do need a level of fitness because you do spend a bit of time helping tow people and getting involved in rescues and things like that, so a basic level of fitness is needed but you don’t need to be a super athlete for it. It is up to you how far you push on the physical side of the two sports. You need good social skills because you are interacting with people from the word go – right from picking up the phone and making the booking to the lesson – so you have got to have a real love of working with people.

What CV Tips Can You Share?

If you are applying to work as an instructor then obviously qualifications is the big thing – if you’ve got those it’s fantastic and highlight them on your CV. If you don’t have them then you should show that you’re willing to gain them and to pursue the career line. So on your CV the enthusiasm for both the sports is the main thing. If you love the sport then there’s a good chance you’ll want to stay in that sport for a long period of time and an employer will like that. Try to include any experience you have of working with people. Communication skills and social skills are so important for both jobs (paddle-boarding or kite surfing) so any experience in a social environment is going to look good on your CV and should help you get through to the interview stage.