The ultimate surfing job is quite obviously to be a pro surfer. But if you’re not part of the 0.2%, there is a living to be made across the surfing spectrum, from media to travel, to the manufacturing of surf gear.
One of the most fun surfing jobs is undoubtedly that of surf camp manager.
For starters, you’ll live and breathe the surf lifestyle, getting to surf multiple times a day. You’re most likely the manager, not the owner, so you don’t need to worry too much about the business side of things. Just ensure that no-one dies and that everything runs smoothly.
You’ll most certainly get your pick of the opposite sex for plenty of night-time action. You’re the master and everyone wants a piece of that pie.
Instead of sitting behind some desk, you’re fit and healthy, moving all day. You’ll develop excellent social skills and have a positive outlook.
Being part of people’s most fun times is like an endless treasure. You’re integral to people’s happiness, and they’ll love you forever.
You’re not going to make much money as a surf camp manager, but who cares about material wealth, right? You’ll also be working long hours, on call for every emergency, no matter how real or imagined.
After a while the conversations will become a little boring. You can only do, “what’s your name and where are you from?” for so long, before you brain just ceases up.
As a surf camp manager you are not actually going to get to surf as much as you imagined. Half the time you’ll be lingering in the shorebreak, one eye on the sets reeling off in the distance, resentful of the terrified backpacker laying too far back on the deck of her 9 foot soft top.
If you’re a surf camp manager or guide somewhere like Tavarau Island, you might miss out on those perfect swells – those immaculate one hour windows of perfection – because you have to take a boat load of ducks out to somewhere a little less scary. You’ll hate yourself (and them) for it.
As a surf career, being a surf camp manager is not for the long haul. You’re going to have a great deal of fun, get laid, party hard and hopefully catch plenty of waves in your spare time. It’s hyper-social and when you finally quit you’ll be hitting the Facebook friend limit.
But, unless you own the camp or resort, you could end up being 35 and jobless, back in your home town with not much going on (besides an incredibly active Facebook feed, probably full of baby photos. Haha, you think, you had all those chicks first!).
So do it and have a great time, but use it as a learning experience and a stepping stone toward your dreams.
Where To Go?
Becoming a surf camp manager will require working your way up the hierarchy, probably starting off as a surf instructor. It’s essential that you have a solid foundation in water and surf skills. A bonus will be experience in hospitality.
The best locations are those where there is a high tourist turnover. Think Bali, Canary Islands, Australia’s East Coast. There will be plenty of locals competing for your job, so you need to have some compelling reasons why you’ll add value to the camp.
If you get the job, take the dramas as they come (there’ll be many), enjoy a little quiet time when you can (you’ll need it), and milk every moment for all its worth.