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James Furnell

James, 19,  from Chepstow spent his gap year on the beach, getting paid to windsurf. 

He explains how: After windsurfing on holiday I thought it would be fun to become an instructor during my gap year.

The Flying Fish course in Sydney was particularly appealing as it gave me the chance to do much more than just windsurf.

I had maybe four weeks' windsurfing experience when I joined the course, although several people in my group had never windsurfed before and still passed.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any experience, although I would recommend you try the sport first to make sure you like it!

Top surfing

Living in Manly was awesome. It was only a 15 minute ferry ride to Sydney city centre and a short walk to one of the top surfing beaches in Sydney.

The people I was staying with were also really cool. There was a great mix of people from gappers like me to folk considering a career change after working in the City for a few years.

Our Fish instructor was an outstanding windsurfer and coach and windsurfing around Sydney Harbour was amazing.

Sydney Opera House

Driving a powerboat past the Sydney Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge, then having lunch opposite the Opera House on our own beach are moments I don't think I will ever forget.

Obviously the qualification was valuable to my CV and employability but the experience of windsurfing and surfing every day with a brilliant group of people in one of the greatest cities in the world has to really be the most valuable thing I gained.

After I qualified, I applied for a job through the Flying Fish website, and immediately received an email asking me to come to an interview.

Work as a windsurfing instructor

I was offered work as a windsurfing instructor with Mark Warner and given a choice of where I wanted to go! I chose Greece.

Having spent a brilliant summer in Greece, I came back to the UK to read Economics at the University of Birmingham.

Next summer I plan to work in Egypt or Vass as a windsurfing instructor - or start an internship in the City. Perhaps the the internship may have to wait for another year!


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