Why Did I Get into Coaching? Part 2

For the next 17 years, we poured our hearts into our surf school “Surf Steps,” One of the most fulfilling yet challenging endeavours was running our “Junior Surf Club” for over a decade. It was a labour of love that demanded endless liaison, organisation, and nurturing—both of the young athletes and their sometimes equally passionate parents! Despite the challenges, it was incredible witnessing these individuals evolve into top-level surfers, coaches, lifeguards, and physiotherapists. filled me with immense pride. Even today, I am full of pride in what was achieved and cherish the bonds forged during those formative years, realising the profound impact our coaching and mentorship had on their lives and also importantly, mine.

During this time in 2007 and after two decades, I finally pursued my long-held dream of attending university. This opened doors to new opportunities and perspectives in Sport. Stepping back from the management of the day-to-day operations of the school in 2011 allowed me to explore some of these new avenues, recognising many areas for surfing development. So I endeavoured to address these areas’ lack of resources by also becoming a trainer and mentor of surf and SUP coaches, as well as a water safety instructor.

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough. It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Never give up”

— Richelle E. Goodrich, Author

Teaching CPR in West Asia 2017

In 2013, I embarked on my first international sports development consultancy project with the Danish National Surf Federation, representing the International Surfing Association (ISA). This has continued into many more projects since and has allowed me to impart invaluable skills to many, but also provided an opportunity to make tangible drowning prevention improvements and create work opportunities in many countries. Contributing to the improvements in the sport, the safety and well-being of individuals worldwide has been immensely gratifying.

The pivotal year of 2020 heralded a new chapter in my career journey with the offer of the Regional Development Advisor position created by the ISA as it became a recognised Olympic sport. The incredibly varied nature of this role nowadays ensures that no two days are alike, there are so many uncharted territories to try to provide development solutions to! We also closed our Surf School this year. COVID-19 effects, and the continuing lack of support and restrictions in operation from our school’s landlords, the local government, finally led us to this decision. This allowed me to focus more time on my new career direction and shed a workload we no longer had the passion for and wanted to carry. In 2023 I was offered the ISA International Development Officer role which is the role I fulfil at present.

From establishing the first surf school in our local area to spearheading groundbreaking projects on a global scale, I feel my path has been now defined as a pursuit of excellence and a commitment to pushing boundaries. It’s still a daily challenge to decide how far to push these or when not to!

As I reflect on my journey, I am reminded of how hard it was at times to persevere in the pursuit of my desire to do something beneficial for me and others. Despite grappling with many moments of self-doubt and anxiety, I have emerged stronger and more resilient.

To all those grappling with uncertainty and apprehension about pursuing their dreams, I urge you to take that leap of faith. Embrace your inner brightness, for it has the power to illuminate even the darkest of paths. With perseverance and unwavering belief in yourself, you have the potential to carve a path that not only fulfils your aspirations but also leaves a lasting impact on the world.

What inspired YOU to Coach or to change your career path? Let me know in the comments😊