What made you want to join the Rockley Leap course?

I’ve been attracted to outdoor education since I was at school. We had instructors come to our school and do it with us so when I left I really wanted to keep that going. I’ve been all over really - I’ve taught surfing in New Zealand, bush craft in Oxfordshire and outdoor activities on the Isle of Wight which was great but in my heart, I always keep coming back to watersports. There’s something about it, it’s that extra dimension of adventure. I really wanted to get trained up so I looked in to doing the Rockley Leap course.

That sounds amazing. Any best bits from your life outdoors so far?

The best/most exciting place I’ve been to is Mount Maunganui in New Zealand – this is where I surfed and lived for 6 months. It’s just been awarded New Zealand’s best beach – a lovely, gorgeous surf town where I spent the whole summer and I absolutely loved it. Being by the water every day and teaching – it’s what I’m happiest doing.

What made you want to join the Rockley Leap course?

There are two main reason why Rockley appealed to me – one that it had such a good reputation, I mean these - guys are real professionals. Secondly, the price. I had to do a double take. I thought it can’t be – 11 weeks for all that. I did have a look around at a few other places but they were a lot more expensive so thought I’ve got to go for this, it looks brilliant, and I’m really glad I did!

Is the course living up to expectations?

So far, it’s been spot on. The team are great and we all have a great laugh together, the banter is strong and we’re really getting on so it’s really good fun. I think that helps because out there, we’re really working hard but having a laugh as well and if someone is having a hard day then we can just scoop them up. Tom has also planned nights out for us which has been great fun. The other night we all went bowling and that was a good laugh.

What are your thoughts on your course co-ordinator, Tom?

He’s brilliant. He certainly knows his stuff. He’s got incredible depth of knowledge but he puts things across very simply which is helpful for someone like me! He certainly delivers and knows what he’s doing but he also loves it, and that is really clear to see.

What have been most challenging bits so far?

I’d literally just done the surfing so this was a real eye opener for me, a real steep learning curve and I see myself doing this for a long time. The sheer scope of the seamanship skills – it’s all very new to me and that has been the biggest surprise, actually how much there is to learn – there’s so much information to get your head around.

You may not have encountered anything like last year’s Beast from the East but it has been windy. How have you all coped with this?

The weather itself is so unpredictable. We’ve also had some really strong winds but it’s the days where it’s gusty where it really throws us – you can’t really prepare for it.

Every now and then there has been times where it feels like we can’t do it but the great thing with the course is that the guys know when there is a bit of a lull amongst us or it seems there has been information overload and they are really good at segmenting the course so it feels more digestible. They have been really good at adapting the course to suit the needs of the group. I mean there are 10 different people from very different backgrounds and also - It’s super flexible,

Do you consider yourself a sailor?

It’s all starting to slip in to place. After about five weeks It started feeling slightly more natural and slightly more like it’s second nature. I’m definitely feeling more confident. I mean I do look out some days and think, Oh I’m gonna die but then when you actually go out there, it’s not actually that bad!

What are your plans after the course?

I’d like to travel and go somewhere where I can surf and windsurf and use everything that I have learnt here at Rockley. I definitely need to have this sort of thing in my life. I need to know that wherever I am I can go sailing or surfing or windsurfing. What I’m doing right now really compliments my lifestyle. It’s like when I’m teaching people to surf, I’m giving them the driver’s license to the ocean. I mean they can probably swim and that’s fun but the more ways we can get out there and experience the ocean and get used to it and learn about it the better.

What would you say to anyone thinking about doing the course?

Just go for it, it’s definitely worth it and you’ll bond with everyone really fast, especially in the adverse conditions!

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