Making a living: Not everybody has to, but most everybody can. For the vast majority of working class people, making a living means having a job. Having a good job means having a certain measure of financial security and personal satisfaction. For many people, social life revolves around the job they do and the people with whom they work. Not everybody is happy with the job they have. In fact, many workers spend year after year unsatisfied with the careers they have chosen.
And then there are those who appear to have the perfect dream job - getting paid for what they love to do. Some people see being a professional surfing instructor as the ideal dream job. It does require, however, a solid physical and mental work ethic and being outside in the heat every day, yearlong. What follows is a rare insiders view into the exciting, romantic and dangerous world of a professional surfing instructor.
Not everyone who professes to teach surfing does. Not everyone who calls himself a professional is. Only the heartiest of surfing instructors ever go on to truly become professional. Many aspiring professional surfing instructors last a summer or two and then melt down and disappear like hot wax on a summer day. In addition to possessing vast knowledge on surfing and the ocean, a professional surfing instructor must learn to have the enduring patience of a Buddha. When a student accidentally falls on or kicks an instructor in the head, the instructor must shrug it off and keep going - it’s all part of the learning process and job that has to be done. A student having a difficult time may loose their patience; but as long as the instructor keeps his, eventually success will come.
In addition to patience, a professional surfing instructor must possess great physical and mental strength. It’s not always easy helping beginning surfers catch waves. Some students weigh double the amount of their surfing instructors. Nevertheless, they still need help getting through and catching waves. Being a professional surfing instructor also involves lifting heavy surfboards all day long in the hot sun. Someone has to carry all the surfboards to the beach. And at the end of the day, no matter how tired a surfing instructor may be, he needs to carry all the surfboards back off the beach.
Many people see being a professional surfing instructor as glamorous and a great way to meet people - and it is. But a professional surfing instructor becomes one to help all kinds of people. Good communication skills are paramount to being a professional surfing instructor. One must be able to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds to be successful. Six-year-old students require a different method of teaching than say sixty year old students. A good professional surfing instructor has the ability to teach a group lesson and reach each individual as if it were a private lesson. To be successful, a professional surfing instructor must enjoy working well with all people.
The risks of being a professional surfing instructor are greater than one might imagine. Environmentally, there is always the constant threat of stepping on a stingray or getting cut by coral, depending on where the lessons are taking place. There is also the constant danger of a student falling directly on top of an instructor.
One surfing instructor had a student fall directly on his head, causing him to be temporally paralyzed. Fortunately, hours later the feeling came back into his arms and legs.
Another surfing instructor turned his head for just a moment to watch a student. He turned around just in time to take a loose surfboard to the head. As he bent down in pain, another surfboard was hurled into the back of his head. This guy was knocked out like a Barry Bonds’ homer and had to be carried off the beach.
Despite the great risks associated with being a professional surfing instructor, the rewards are far greater. Introducing someone properly to surfing for the first time is a privilege and an honor. It really is a dream job. When someone experiences walking on water, a miracle takes place. Whether the student never surfs again or continues to surf the rest of his life, he remains a surfer. You can take the surfer out of the waves, but you cannot take the waves out of the surfer.
When it’s all said and done, a dream job is any job were you have a chance to contribute positively and make a difference in someone else’s life. Getting paid for what you love to do could be like having a dream come true. Think about it: If you could make a living doing anything you wanted to, what would you do?