get-a-job-surf

Komune, Keramas. Probably the best workplace ever for a lunchbreak surf. Photo: Grambeau

WAITER/BARKEEP

Surf time:

Assuming your shifts are evening, surf time is great. If it’s lunch rush shift, well you can always dawnie/surf between the lunch and evening shift.

Money:

Generally, you’re at the lower end of the pay spectrum, typically earning 8-10 euros/hour plus tips. In Europe, nobody really tips in bars (in America you might get a dollar a drink)... However, you might get fed/drunk for free, which all helps.

Qualifications:

Generally a good word of mouth recommendation, and perhaps a trial shift gets you in. Rather than paper qualifications or certificates, employers are usually looking for someone trustworthy, reliable and friendly, or in other words, have large, firm breasts. As the co- proprietor of one establishment not too far from the SE office once quipped, “You’ve got big tits, long hair, you speak four languages... you’re in!"

Travel Possibilities:

Barkeep can work his or her way around the world without missing too much surf. Surf towns have bars and restaurants, and part time work can keep you going financially during a season’s stay, as well as buy you a few waves from locals if you give em a sneaky free drink every now and again.

Downside:

Cash comes in kind of a trickle than a gush, thus bar work is kind of the opposite

of working offshore on an oil rig where you do a month non stop then get a month off, rather than being tied down to four hours every other day. Also, if it’s open late, your dawnie potential might be hampered somewhat.

Miscellaneous:

Bar work can be ideal for meeting people, and trying to make their face pregnant. You don’t need chat up lines, ice breakers, any of that. You just say, ‘What can I get you?’ A study once found that a young male might get up to 81% more punani working in a busy bar than if he was just drinking there with the same hair and t-shirt on.

photographer

‘Too many kooks spoil the froth,' Hawaii. Photo:Timo

SURF PHOTOGRAPHER

You don’t have to be weird... but it helps.

Surf time:

Pretty damn good. The ones that don’t surf don’t surf out of choice, coz there are plenty that do surf and surf really well. On a Mentawai trip, obviously 99% of the time you’re there to work, but you live by the coast and as we all know, surf spots are rarely photo worthy all the time. So you’re probably shooting when it’s A + + conditions but still surfing all the B-days, which there are lots of.

Money:

Until the relatively recent going tits-up of the surf biz, some top dogs at American mags were reportedly getting up to six figures as senior staff photogs, plus brand work, which itself can pay up to two grand a day, and five grand a photo for global rights copyright buy-out for ads. That was the very upper extreme end of the glory days though, today editorial will barely earn you enough to put petty in the car, and no surf brands are really buying ads anymore... and you gotta spend half a zillion on equipment. Meanwhile the ASP only tend to hire South Africans, so they can pay them in biltong.

Travel Possibilities:

Amazing. You’ll spend your career going to the finest surf destinations in the universe with the finest surfers. Or alternatively, around Britain...

Downside:

Spending trillions on excess baggage and endless hours hating on

each other online,crapping on sanctimoniously about the days of film, bleeting about social media... as well as getting your best stuff either ignored or printed postage stamp size by the kooks at the magazines (sorry!). Also, you don’t have to be a weirdo, but it helps...

Qualifications:

No formal qualifications, your photos will be your CV. Need to be able to get on with pros, get up early, swim, and stare at a Mac endlessly. famouS SurferS: Laurent Pujol is a French pro turned photog who’s had covers on half a dozen mags already.

matt-wilkinson

While 'Pro' still stands for 'professional', Wilko explores the boundaries of that word as an adjective, and we love him for it. Photo: Grambeau

PRO SURFER

Surf time:

Amazing. There is pretty much no better job for time in the water than actually getting paid to be in the water.

Money:

Varies greatly. The worst main sponsors we know of for a full time WQS pro pays about 1000/month, which doesn’t even cover flights to the comps, while finishing in the 50-100’s on the WQS might net you around $15,000 in prize money for the year. On the other end of the spectrum the very top Euro pros are rumoured to have multi-year contracts worth seven figures while Kelly is rumoured to be worth 22 million dollars... although that’s actually kinda shit when you consider that Wayne Rooney gets 20 million a year, and is fat, ugly and not even that good. Meanwhile, with a gram of coke costing a whopping 70 euros, the best sticky buds up to 20, and even average hookers around 80 euros a pop, you’re gonna need a decent salary to keep the wolf from the door and still have fun.

Travel Possibilities:

Similar to photog, but better.

Other:

At the many, many brand trips you do, you’ll all go to dinners and sit at a big table with the dude who comes to make sure you wear the right trunks, video guy, photog etc, etc. Somehow, even in places where they’ve never heard of you, womenfolk can smell which one of you is the famous one, and even if you have bad teeth/hair/physique/lisp, you’ll end the evening sliding it expertly into the hottest waitress’s bum while the others watch Boardwalk Empire on their laptops in the next room. That’s just the way it is.

Qualifications:

Ride a wave better than about 99.5% of the population...? You're in!

honolua-bay-maui

Cranes on the horizon of a beautiful surf spot usually signal a sinking in the heart of the surfer - unless of course he‘s doing price work. Honolua Bay, Maui. Photo:Timo

BUILDER/CHIPPY

Surf time:

Hmm kind of so-so. Thing is when you’ve been doing man shit all day and are covered in paint/cement/etc, even blown out 2ft beachies will look fun and you’re out there, stoked. If you’re doing big jobs, you might be grafting seven days a week but more than likely you’ll have time between contracts to rip the shred.

Money:

Pretty good really. A decent chippy/builder can charge around 20 eur/hour in SW France and most of the Australian ones do. The Portuguese meanwhile come in at under half that... and are less likely to not show up if it’s pumping/they had a better offer.

Travel Possibilities:

Can be good. You should be able to get cash work pretty much anywhere if you do good work, show up on time and don’t come back from lunch half cut.

Qualifications:

The more papers (or ‘tickets’) you have the more you can charge per hour. If you can drive a fork lift, do electrics, carpentry, concreting and fit gas plumbing, you’re laughing. You’ll also need to be able to wolf whistle.

Downside:

Building sites generally don’t have many good spots for earning half an hour’s money taking a slow, enjoyable shit, like office jobs. Also injuries like splinters, hammered thumbs and bad backs are no fun at all.

Famous Surfers:

Occy famously took up construction after tour burn out in the early 90’s, before deciding that staging a legendary comeback to win a World Title was preferable to hauling bricks up a ladder in 30 degree heat from 6am every day getting shouted at by a high functioning alcoholic racist foreman with anger issues.

surf-shop

On the one hand you've got your boutique surf shops miles from the ocean selling mainly soft goods to softies, while at the other end of the spectrum... Photo:Timo

SURF SHOP WORKER

Surf time:

Awful. Rarely enough time before opening for a dawnie, unless you’re French you’ll get half an hour at best for lunch. You’ll get one day off during the week, usually a Monday or Tuesday, and will there ever be surf that day? Will there fuck.

Money:

Pitiful ... minimum wage with no real perks except some discounted/free gear. It’s OK if you’re 15, but shithouse after that.

Qualifications:

Obviously if you are a good local surfer, you will get more cred, but that’s not gonna make a huge difference for your sales. On the other hand, you will need to know fits, sizes etc. a good/creepy salesman will always spot the right bra and ass size for women. For the technical gear, i.e. wetsuits, the standard technique is wait until you know the one they like, then tell em that’s the one you use and it’s really good.

Travel possibilities:

Shit. Almost none, plus you can’t afford to go anywhere, anyway.

Downside:

Get a surfgear overdose, all those boards, wetsuits, boardshorts, bikinis, barcodes, sizes, will give you nightmares sometimes. I don’t know about you but the lights make me nauseus. But the worst is listening to dickheads go on all day about what the surf’s like and you have to feign interest when what you really want to do is smash em over the head with a thick wooden coathanger.

Famous surfers:

Radlets like Jonathan Gonzalez, Tiago Pires and the Hobgoods have got their own surf shops, but how much time they actually spend in them tidying the Reef sandals display vs. merely counting the Benjamins is debatable.

dimitri-ouvré-pilot

dimitri-ouvré-pilot

Dimitri Ouvré is a pro surfer and a trainee pilot, and actually landed this plane. We really hope he's getting some serious tail... Photo: Alex Laurel.

AIRLINE PILOT/STEWARD

Surf time:

Great, just a little bit ‘on and off’ according to your schedule. Jetlag is handy for dawnies, although you might have to leave boards at the spot since crew baggage restrictions are gnarly.

Money:

Depends if you are driving the bloody thing or not. A Captain flying long haul on major airline might be earning around £100 000/year, which ain’t bad. At the other end of the spectrum, a steward(ess) on Ryanair starts on around a pitiful 1000eur/month, and you have to rent your own uniform and pay for it to get dry cleaned!

Qualifications:

Training is usually done by the airline itself, but things like a first aid course and couple of self defence moves (to take down the drunk obnoxious Russians/Gerard Depardieus) might be handy. Note: You don’t have to be gay.

Travel possibilities:

The only thing better than having the free flight perks of an airline employee is having the perks of their spouse, which means you get all the cool shit without ever having to say ‘Chicken or fish?’ or have a bad day at work that results in 300 deaths.

Downside:

Working on Christmas Day, getting made redundant as airlines, despite being in business for several decades, still struggle to turn over a profit.

Famous surfers:

Taapuna master Kevin Johnson has been stewarding on Air Tahiti Nui for years and loves it. Meanwhile Reunion Isle’s Damien Chaudoy is currently training to get his wings, as is Dimtri Ouvre (pictured).

carribbean

Sailing, done right, delivers you to the best surf in the world courtesy of a few polite, carbon-less gusts of wind. Caribbean. Photo: Alex Laurel

YACHT CREW

Surf time:

Sounds good on paper, if you picture yourself cruising in the Mentawais or the Caribbean with pumping lineups in sight... but in reality that’s a relatively rare encounter. You’ll either have to drive the boat across some vast ocean to its rich owner without a sandbar at less than 1000 feet underneath you... or when you are at the destination, you’re under constant scrutiny by that same rich bastard, who demands you wear a tucked in polo shirt to polish the brass/fetch his mistress G&T’s... Still, if you love the ocean, a sense of freedom, exploration and hate sitting in traffic, ocean sailing could be for you. The big picture of course is one day getting your own boat and skippering it to whichever wave-drenched archipelago you like.

Money:

As a basic crew member helping with delivery of a yacht, you might just get your meals and passage as pay, possibly the return flight home paid, possibly not. Otherwise, experienced crew might make a couple of hundred quid a week but not much more.

Qualifications:

The RYA Day Skipper isn’t a must to be able to cook/clean/sail but it certainly helps you get work and is a decent starting point towards becoming your own Cap’n.

Travel possibilities:

The seven seas brother! The adventure with a big A! Maybe sail to

Antarctica like ol’ Kepa Acero or cruise the vast Pacific surfing unknown breaks in every corner of the Polynesian triangle...

Downside:

Maybe you’ll be doing laps of Lake Geneva, towing obnoxious city bankers’ obnoxious kids on wakeboards. Plus, imagine setting off for that hefty San Francisco to Sydney leg and realizing sometime midway through the first evening that the skipper is kinda like a still-alive Jimmy Saville. Yikes!

Famous Surfers:

Jim Banks, Liz Clark, Ozzie Wright’s nan.

asp-tour

For an ASP judge, the view from your office goes some way to mitigate the constant barrage of online vitriol. Photo: Timo

ASP JUDGE

Surf time:

Pretty damn good. Most judges travel with boards to most WT events, the waiting periods are ten days and the events take three... figure it out. A few years ago average joe fans could accuse the judges of being kooks but head judge Pritamo Ahrendt absolutely fucken rips, so that argument kida falls flat these days. OK so we’ve lost J-Bay but with WT highlights like Cloudbreak, Keramas, Teahupoo, Graviere and the North Shore, well we reckon you’d be getting one or tubes on company time. During the Hawaii season, the judges stay at a big place right on the beach at Sunset about a fifteen second walk from the paddle

out, which is pretty fucken cool.

Money:

If you do the Men’s and Women’s WT, and Primes, you can make about $US 50 000/ year. Just the Men’s WT alone will get you about $25 000 (for ten events). The ASP also has an agreement that hotels must be at least 3star. At the other end of the scale, for a small 1 or 2 star comp you’ll be on about $125/day, still not bad.

Qualifications:

It’s basically a case of working your way up from local regional one star events and getting your training done at each stage up the ladder to become a fully certified ASP judge able to do all events; WT, star, women’s, longboard, etc. Now why, exactly you would want to, is another matter.

Travel possibilities:

Fab. Just have a look on the ASP site at the schedule for the year, that’s where you’re going.

Downside:

Locked in a box when the waves are firing, Sunny wants to talk to you, Victor Ribas is throwing rocks at you, irritating beach announcers, being the subject of endless hysterical, paranoid conspiracy theories from the French ... and getting accused of being corrupt, incompetent or just a kook by your heroes... enjoy!