Getting a job at a well-known watersports centre in a hot, sunny and windy holiday destination? No problem. Surviving shit banter, predatory female clients and an endless onslaught of mosquitoes? More difficult – this is the Secret Diary of a Windsurfing Instructor.
After only a couple of days on the job it’s become pretty clear that a very limited and specialised skill-set is required to survive out here. My morning’s schedule has developed into something like this:
0915: Alarm goes off, leaving plenty of time for healthy and substantial breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and local honey before work at ten.
0945: Wake up. Shit. Everyone in the house is either hanging so hard they can only grunt and point, or are still hammered and are wandering round in a drunken stupor. A quick brush of the teeth and a splash of cold water on my face will have to do, as there’s no way I’m having another arctic shower – I had one at least the day before yesterday.
0947: Jump on broken bike to cycle to work. (Optional: Large amounts of swearing at the discovery that my bike has been stolen. Blame everyone in the immediate vicinity then proceed to beg a backy off of anyone who’ll take me.)
0948: Pitstop for a chocolate croissant and chocolate milk from the bakery – the breakfast of champions. Cycling whilst eating, drinking, and avoiding certain death by Greek drivers has already become second nature to me.
0959: Made it (just) leaving time to flirt with the girls serving behind the beach bar before-
1000: Beach opens. Game face. Ugh. Make that game face with sunglasses on.
Before lessons started on the first day, I met the instructor who I would be shadowing for my first week on the job; a blond, gangly looking teen, who despite being younger than me, was on his fourth season abroad. Although he seemed a nice enough kid, I soon found out that he liked the sound of his own voice, and didn’t hold back in letting our beginners know that he could land front loops before we even got to lunch on the first day. Front loops? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that said kid is actually pretty handy on the water. More’s the pity. But I digress.
The rest of the teaching day gets split between actual teaching (bleugh), taking time to debrief/mince/tan on the water (better), and encouraging frequent rehydration breaks, i.e. excuses both not to work, and for your clients to buy you a well earned frappé. If I could only incorporate ice-cream into the programming, then this might just be the perfect job.
Luckily for those teaching beginners, lessons only run in the mornings, and the afternoons are spent working on the beach. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the secrets to good relations with the beach team are rapid-fire wit and banter. However, the capacity for original wit is drastically reduced by long hours in the sun, late nights on the town, and work that requires the IQ of a geography student. As a result, anyone can be taught to talk like a Brookes student – just follow three simple rules for a fast-track to beach bum cred.
Rule Numero Uno: Look for anything, and I mean anything, that could be construed as sexual innuendo (in your endo). For example:
Beach Bum 1: I think that mast is too big for that beginners’ sail.
Beach Bum 2: Whey, you said big mast!
(This was an actual conversation, with names appropriately changed for anonymity)
Rule Numero … Two: An appropriate response to any comment can be created by prefixing the original phrase with ‘your mum’, even when it makes no sense at all, e.g.
‘Ugh, it’s all mangy and swollen.’ ‘Your mum’s all mangy and swollen.’
‘My fan won’t stop squeaking.’ ‘Your mum won’t stop squeaking.’
‘What’s the wind like?’ ‘Dude, it’s sick out there!’ ‘Your mum’s sick.’ (my personal favourite)
Rule Number Three: Always refer to the Beach Hut over the radio as ‘Beach Slut’. With guaranteed lad points for being rude over official channels, and the additional benefit that both clients and management will fail to notice the slight variation in pronunciation, it’s a win-win route to acceptance on the beach.
Despite my clear strategy to win over the beach boys, I fear it may be a while before I’m fully accepted into their ranks. I don’t know what it could be, but somewhere between throwing on the wifebeater (varsity stash, naturally), slipping on some flipflops (Prada, all leather, very nice) and cruising down to work in my chinos, I must have done something to give the game away. Hmm.