Photographer Richard and his wife Amy Kotch live the dream as live-in surf guides at the Hudhuranfushi Island Resort, Maldives. Every day they wake up, start the coffee, and look straight out at the Lohis Break, arguably the most consistent wave in the Maldives. A setup like this allows Richard and Amy to share their passion for life with people from all walks of life. We asked them to share some tips on locking in what hands down is one of the best career moves we’ve ever heard of.
1. Get active, get out there and make enquiries, send emails, photos, videos, CV… follow up and then follow up again. Persistence pays off.
2. Be enthusiastic and prepared to do ANYTHING to get your foot in the door….
3. Know the area you want to work in. Make an effort, do some research, go there as a guest first, make a good impression… Smile. Be as friendly as you possibly can to everyone you meet. That guy sitting in the line-up next to you might be the guy with a million dollar yacht who needs a surf guide!
4. Party, but not too hard….even if your boss is encouraging you to get on it. You cannot do this work with a hangover….maybe for a week or two but not every day, week-in week-out for a six month season.
5. Stay healthy. If you’re required to work every day and be upbeat with guests you need to be physically fit and healthy. I take good quality organic supplements and try to eat well and get plenty of sleep.
6. Remember that it’s not all about you. You’re working. Your job is to help others have as much fun as possible. If you have a bad surf or miss a swell you will have another opportunity so don’t get to stressed about it.
7. Learn first aid/CPR. If you have guests or friends who are doctors or paramedics, ask them for advice. Travel with a first aid kit. Most resorts have a doc nearby but you might be the first on the scene and knowing how to react could save someone’s life.
8. Have realistic expectations. Accept that there is actually no such thing as a “dream job.” We do our job every day of the season for six months straight….By the middle of the season you’re starting to burn out…It is still work. We get up and have to answer the same old questions every day and be “stoked” even if the surf is one-foot and crowded. If you are really close to your family and friends or like socializing, fine dining, night clubbing etc., how are you going to handle being stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere for months on end? A potential employer doesn’t want to deal with a home-sick employee who is depressed around guests.
9. Once you have your “dream job” try to go beyond the call of duty. Look for ways to improve the service, try to make yourself invaluable to your employer because chances are there’s going to be someone else after your job! You could write a blog, shoot photos, teach a yoga class or find some way to make the boss’s life a bit easier! Don’t just sit back and go surf all day!
10. Enjoy it and appreciate it. Even on the worst days, after all you could be flipping burgers!