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Danielle Gardner

Dany tells her own story: I initially wanted to do just the windsurfing instructor course but after talking to everyone I thought it would be fun to try something different as well – dinghy sailing! I was nervous at first but I was assured that it was great fun.

I am so glad I did the combined windsurf and dinghy instructor course, it was definitely the right one for me.

No sailing experience

Before doing the Flying Fish course I had no sailing experience at all! I had been on a few windsurfing holidays with friends and family and went windsurfing at the weekends in Barry and Porthcawl with my dad. After my first windsurfing holiday in Dahab I was completely hooked!

Out in Dahab I could see how much fun all the instructors were having and that they really enjoyed their work and lifestyle. Then my friend pointed out an article in Boards magazine about Tasha Wakefield winning the competition with Flying Fish to become a windsurf instructor.

A great way to get qualified

I asked around and everybody thought going through Flying Fish would be a great way to get qualified and I would also have the time of my life doing it – and how right they were!

On the Windsurfing Instructor week taking the taster session was fantastic. I felt so comfortable taking people out on the water and knowing they were enjoying themselves and so was I! I knew then that this was what I wanted to do as a career with no doubt.

The Dinghy Instructor week was on the last week of season and unfortunately we definitely had our work cut out for us in the adverse conditions, ha ha. From thunderstorms and heavy rain to light winds with strong off shore gusts and then suddenly no wind at all! Throughout the week we were all nervous that we wouldn't be able to demonstrate our skills.

On the Friday (assessment day) we finally had some nice wind in the afternoon. We were all so happy we felt totally relaxed and so happy to be able to sail and it must have shown because we all passed. It felt like such an achievement to have passed in the conditions that we had, it was amazing.

Favourite memories

One of my absolute favourite memories was when we took the boats in for the last time and because it was the end of season we took the boats apart as well. There was a real feeling that this was the end of our experience together as a group – we would never use those boats together again. It's one of those memories that are a bit sad but will stick with you.

Other favourite memories include

Getting my waterstarts nailed was incredible! No feeling like it, ha ha.

Every mountain bike ride - I loved them! Even when I went A over T outside the bike shed for everyone to see. The view from the towers was breath taking.

Wildwind on Tuesdays will always be with me! Had some of the best nights ever on those nights.

Just totally go for it

I have gained so much confidence in my ability to teach and also in myself. There were a few times on the course when I thought I was not cut out to be an instructor or that I couldn't sail. And now I feel like, if I want to do something or be something I can just totally go for it – it's all about relaxing and not taking things too seriously! Cheese but true ....

When I was doing the course in Vass, I heard there might be an opening to work as bike guide for the next season so I swiftly applied. This means I can do all the things I love at one time - and do some teaching hopefully as well.

I am totally embracing the adventure sports industry!

Go for it. You will gain so much from it without realising! There are so many opportunities with all the courses. I went in aiming to be a windsurf instructor and now I am a dinghy and mountain bike instructor as well, absolutely incredible experience.

If you get the chance to do it, definitely take it!


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