The Kitesurf Instructor
Maybe you know one or you’ve met one on the beach, a kitesurf instructor. They made kitesurfing their life and completely ‘breath’ the sport. We interviewed an instructor with 10+ years experience to discover his lifestyle and great kitesurf destinations.
His name is Andrés, a Spanish kitesurf instructor with some serious kite skills. Check out his instagram for some ‘megaloops’ on his directional. Like most of the full-time instructors, he splits his year up into two seasons. The summer season he spends in Tarifa, Spain and for the winter season he picks a warm kitesurf destination on the globe. But what criteria does he use to select the next place he’ll be living for the upcoming 5 months? And more importantly why?
In this brief interview we go deeper into this topic.
Lifestyle and Favorite Kitesurf Destinations
Being a kitesurf instructor is a lifestyle. Most of the instructors you’ll meet are a special breed of people. Andrés has his own way of looking at life.
Why did you become a kitesurf instructor?
“I used to work as an architect in Sevilla, but got so fed up with this office job that I decided to make a big change is my life. When I moved to Tarifa predominately for kitesurfing, there weren’t that many jobs to pick from that were interesting enough. Tarifa is a ‘kitesurf walhala’ with a great amount of kitesurf schools that all look for kitesurf instructors each season, so that’s how I decided to be become an instructor.
Teaching is something I enjoy doing and I love to make my students happy. But unfortunately a lot of instructors here are burned out, after teaching long days and long seasons for multiple years. Being an instructor is a seasonal job and staying in Tarifa the whole year will not make you enough money. So if I want to stay in Tarifa the whole year, I have to do online architect projects during the off- season. Or look for kitesurf instructor opportunities abroad.”
How was your life before you became an instructor?
“I was living a office life. In my opinion office jobs are quite boring. The routine is not interesting at all. Living next to the ocean is bringing me a different day every day.”
What would you advise somebody that wants to become an instructor?
“It is a lot of fun and amazing lifestyle! But this is not a job you’ll be doing forever. At times it feels like surviving. So make sure you have other job options after your kite instructor career. You’ll need to speak multiple languages, at least English. Teaching this sport asks for a certain calmness and the ability to convey complex theory in (at times) extreme conditions. Social skills are also crucial during this job, as you have to connect with each client and make sure they enjoy themselves.”
If you need to describe your life in three words, what would they be?
“Beach, friends, and freedom. I’m more happy now with less money. ”
You don’t miss having more money?
“No. I have less money, but much more time. For me time is more important than money.”
What are the most important criteria for your kitesurf destinations? Especially when you’ll be living there for a while?
“Wind conditions, I want ‘guaranteed’ wind every day. With a minimum of 12 knots. The kitesurf spot needs to offer enough shade from the sun. For me accommodation doesn’t really matter, I just need a place to sleep. Cold drinks after a long session on the water are important for hydration. If possible multiple options for food, I like to try new local dishes every day. But I’m more careful in less developed countries: I tent to stick with the same restaurants or beach bars, for hygienic reasons.
What’s your favourite kitesurf destination in the world? And Why?
“Tarifa has everything I need: good wind, a good hospital, amazing food, parties whenever you want, like-minded friends and the wind conditions are changing every day.
I also love to kitesurf in Brazil, the wind conditions are absolutely amazing.
I still love to visit Polynesia and Mauritius. I favor wave kitesurf- destinations. With waves around 3 metres high and of course enough wind.”
My Ultimate Downwinder
Can you describe to me where you’ve done your most epic downwinder?
“In Tarifa. As it isn’t a very long route, I’ll be taking a couple breaks during the downwinder. On route I’ll stay a bit longer on the wave spots.
My downwinder starts up the coast at Punta Paloma and ends in front of restaurant Balneario, in Tarifa”
What crucial elements should every downwinder have?
“Consistent wind, waves, a unique and ever changing landscape from the water and cold beers for celebrations. Always end the downwinder with a beer!
Safety is an important factor as well. When you’re doing a downwinder with a group, you’ll need professional guides on the water. They can point out the obstacles and support the kiters when needed. Pre-check the riders: they need to be confident enough to join the downwinder. Most kitesurfers doing a downwinder for the first time get too tired when riding for long distances on one leg. Brief all riders on good downwinder techniques.”
Important elements we take into account as well during ‘The Brazilian‘.
What feeling does kitesurfing give you?
“I feel complete Freedom and I’m enjoying my time to the fullest.”