A photo of friends and I at Polzeath a few years back. It was an altogether simpler time.


So a week as a Surf Instructor at Polzeath Beach in Cornwall. That should be nice and relaxed right? Lazing on the beach, hanging out drinking cold drinks, hiring out the odd board and heading in for a surf every now and then. Sounds like an easy way of life.

I haven’t been so exhausted at any other point during this year.

Meeting Tommy (my direct boss on the left) and his brother Bobby (right) should have been a warning on the first morning. They’re ripped like surfers in the movies are ripped. As far as I’m aware that doesn’t just come about from doing nothing on the beach all day. Sadly it doesn’t appear to come from just one week’s work either.

After brief introductions my first task of the week was to help unload the surfboards from the trailer and get them racked up ready for rental. They stand vertically in the racking, one next to the other. My first impression was cemented when one attempted to become less vertical than it’s rack buddies. Buoyant dominoes were made of the rest, and I was left holding the end of a big-heavy- sandy-tilted mess.

Apparently I was the second person to do this on their first day, and the guys were pretty great about it. By great, I mean they told everybody and posted it out to thousands from their Facebook page. Cheers!


I was then introduced to working ‘hire’ and how to make sure the surfboards and wetsuits came back when they were meant to. The procedure to loan out the equipment was nice and simple and it was great to have conversations to find out where the customers had come from, where they were staying and what they had planned during their time in Cornwall. The atmosphere was one of fun. Everyone you dealt with was there to have a good time and enjoy themselves. People were relaxed, and the smiles were passed around in contagious fashion.

Not long after I was asked if I’d like to suit up myself and join in on a lesson. I surfed before this in real life so I knew enough to hopefully be helpful in the sea, but over the week I think I spent about 16 hours in the water, far more than I ever have before.  Squeezing back into my wetsuit after a break on the beach felt somewhat like climbing into a tight damp banana skin. During the school summer holidays the instructors will commonly spend more like 30-40 hours in the sea and with larger groups too. That’s an incredible commitment. I think my body would just shut down.

There are a few important rules to remember when acting as a surf instructor and one of the very first is to make sure you come out with the same number of kids/students that you go in with. The maximum ratio is 10 per instructor and luckily during this first dip there were only 9 of them and 2 of us. Still, I don’t think I’ve ever counted to 9 so many times in my life.

At the very end of the week, before I said goodbye to the team, I attempted to head out for a final surf. I was absolutely knackered and my legs refused to ‘pop’ me in any direction, let alone up. The video captured wasn’t worth viewing but the short clip below may better show how I was feeling without the use of any words.

I think I’ll leave the job of surf instructing to the professionals. I was utterly impressed not only Tommy and the team’s skills on a surfboard, but also by the way the way he ran business on the beach and helped the team passed on their skills to the next generation trying to tame the waves.

I’ll leave this with a video of Angus, just one of the talented surfers at Surf’s Up that makes it all look far easier than it really is.


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Week 27 – Surf Instructor – Wavehunters

  • 07 July

Wavehunters is a surf lifestyle company operated by surfers and designed to give quick and easy access to the surfing breaks of Europe and Africa.

Wavehunters is designed to be a solution to the ever growing demand of people looking to surf. We aim to give everyone the option to do something different, to reinvigorate their soul in a safe and controlled environment. We excel in providing people of all ages personal attention and specifically tailored surf lessons from experienced committed and professional surf coaches.

The wavehunters team are all surfers who live their lives surfing - surfing is a way of life not just a sport - we want to educate and demonstrate our own unique lifestyle and culture and welcome you to join us.

Wavehunters operates 12 months of the year at Polzeath – on the beach and from the wavehunters beach house. Our Moroccan surf base is open from November through to April in the beautiful fishing village of Taghazoute in the south of Morocco.

Wavehunters Website →