As of 2019, there were nearly 3 million active surfers in the U.S. alone. Of course, that number covers casual surfers and those who just consider it a weekend hobby as well as the pros. But, if you consider yourself an enthusiast and you spend your time either in the water or wishing you were, you might want to consider finding a surf-friendly job.
No, that doesn’t mean you need to become a pro surfer. You can actually live out the old saying, “if you work doing what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life” by finding a career that allows you to spend time in the water, be around other surfers, or use the skills you’ve developed a surfer in effective and creative ways.
So, can you find a surf-friendly job, make a living, and spend as much time as possible riding waves?
The answer is yes. Let’s look at a few ways you can make that happen.
Take Advantage of Your Soft Skills
More than ever, companies are looking at the soft skills of their employees just as much as the hard skills. What does that mean? Soft skills include things like:
If you include your soft skills on your resume, you’re showing a potential employer the full scope of who you are, including some personality and character traits that could be important in a particular job.
The good news? Surfing teaches a lot of soft skills, so you might have a long list of them to include. Think about how often you have to communicate on the water or before you head out with friends, and how creative and flexible you have to be when you’re trying to land a new trick or take on an unexpected change in wave patterns. How many times have you persevered when your day on the water wasn’t going as planned?
Don’t be afraid to talk about your love of surfing in job interviews. Associate how it helps you with those soft skills, and share your passion with a potential employer. In doing so, you’ll be better equipped to find a job you enjoy, and your employer may be more supportive of your love of the sport.
Find an Aquatic Job
One of the best ways to surf more often is to find a job that’s close to the water. There are dozens of careers for water lovers, including:
You might also consider a career that allows you to focus directly on the oceans you love, like marine biology. Becoming a marine biologist is a great way to further explore the waters and learn about the environment of the deep. But, it does require several years of higher education, which can cause your student loan debt to rise. This can be concerning if you have bad credit, but there are student loans you can get if your credit isn’t the greatest.
If you do want a “water job” that requires going to college, consider how to make some extra money doing what you love while you’re in school. Teach at local surfing camps for kids who are interested in the sport, or work as a part-time lifeguard in the summers. The payoff will be worth it in the end if you can land a job that brings you closer to the water for the rest of your life.
Join the Gig Economy
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 1.6 million Americans in the gig economy as of 2019. Now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number is likely to continue to rise as more people consider working remotely full-time.
Remote working has many benefits, including flexibility, so you can have more control over your schedule. As a result, you may have more free time to do what you love. Remote work is also more sustainable, cutting down on energy costs and disruptions to habitats, which can be beneficial to the oceans you love so much.
Having a job in the gig economy can also offer you the freedom to travel. When you work remotely, you can work from anywhere. So, you can travel the world while still maintaining a career, finding the best spots to surf across the globe. Some of the most notable places to surf are found in places like South Africa and Indonesia. As long as you have a strong Internet connection and the ability to stay in touch with your boss and/or clients, you can visit some of those spots while still earning an income.
Granted, every job isn’t able to be done remotely. But, if you have the right skills and the drive to make it happen, you can essentially “be your own boss” and spend your extra time catching waves. You don’t need to be a professional surfer to continue your passion. Keep these ideas in mind, and consider whether a career move is right for you.