If you have ever wondered how to become a watersports instructor and get paid to travel the world; find out how George got into it.
Name: George Grisley
Nickname: Grizzly Bear
Current Job Title: Professional Windsurfer and Social Media Manager
Current Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Best company to work for?
I have only ever worked for Club Vass, so how can I recommend anywhere else? (plus they are the best!)
What made you want to be an instructor?
I grew up in a windsurfing family. My mum actually worked for Club Vass when she was in her twenties. As a result of that, we had many family holidays in Vassiliki and I felt really inspired by all the instructors there. It was a no brainer for me to want to work there, after leaving school!
Where did you do you your instructor training?
I did my Start Windsurfing Course in Poole Harbour in the UK aged 17. After that, I left the last day of school early, to get on a flight to Vass to do my Intermediate Instructor course. As soon as the course ended, I worked the rest of the season at Club Vass and the rest is history…
What’s special about Vassiliki?
It’s a combination of the conditions, the kit, and the social. A collection of like-minded people that are all up for a good time! The same people tend to come back year on year. Not only do you then create such good friends with your colleagues but also the guests that come. It is nice to go the bar and know everyone around it and be able to catch up with anyone or see how their windsurf was.
Best thing about being a seasonaire?
For me, it’s the lifestyle – it’s completely unrivalled. I got to work on one of the most beautiful beaches, that also happens to be windy nearly every single day. I’ve made all my closest friends from seasons too. You meet so many like-minded people, who are from all walks of life. Also, the clients you are serving are on their holidays. They’re stoked to be there; you’re stoked to be there and as a result there is always a great vibe!
Best memory from a summer season in Vassiliki?
I’m happiest in the water. The best days for me were always the mega days where I got to go windsurfing with all my friends, until we couldn’t walk anymore, then we’d crawl to the bar for that first cold sip of Alfa!
What would you say to anyone thinking of training to be an Instructor?
I would say: “Give me a reason why you wouldn’t!” Doing seasons has changed me so much, for the better… As an instructor, you interact with people from all walks of life, which is an opportunity that few young people are able to experience. And hey, you don’t have to do it forever, but I guarantee the skills you develop while being an instructor will help you in many aspects in later life.
Most random thing you have done as part of your job as a Watersports Instructor?
I mean it’s also probably one of my favourite things to do as well, but the legendary Club Vass plate dance is pretty out there! I won’t spoil the surprise for everyone, you can see it on Youtube or when you do your Nomad Instructor course.
Why did you agree to be a WATERSPORTS NOMAD Ambassador?
I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer and give yourself the skills to travel and work in beautiful places around the world. I know everyone will have the best time, make friends for life and have unique experiences! I’m a product of this training. Without doing my instructor course I would not be where I am today. To think that I could potentially inspire someone else to do what I do is really cool. It is not necessarily the most conventional path, so I think its nice to have someone to show you it is possible.
Favourite location you have travelled to:
I can’t pick just one! My top three, however, in no particular order would be Jericoacoara in Brazil, Cape Town and Tarifa.
Who inspires you in the seasonal industry?
For me, anyone who works seasons and then continues to work in the watersports industry. It’s not easy to do and that’s something I aim to emulate, so hats off to all those guys.
What are your aims for the future?
To promote myself and windsurfing through social media, so that I can continue to make a living from the sport and maintain the lifestyle that I love.
Life lessons you have learnt from being a seasonaire?
For me the big one was public speaking. Being given a group of 10-15 people every week who all come from different backgrounds and countries, used to be incredibly daunting, but now I really love those groups. You have to adapt your style for the individuals, but when you chat with them at the bar at the end of the day you tend to find out about something new you’ve never heard or thought of. I try to use this skill all the time and do a lot of ‘talking head’ videos for the brands I represent.
Name one thing that people don’t know about you
I’m a massive Star Wars nerd….
Name something that people don’t know about being a seasonaire.
The question of “When are you going to get a ‘real job?’” gets asked a lot of seasonaires. What people don’t realise is that it very much is a “real” job (whatever that is). As an instructor, you are responsible for managing groups of all abilities and from all backgrounds; making sure people have a great time and learn something new. The hours can sometimes be long, but it’s incredibly rewarding and at the end of the day, most people would swap jobs with you in a heartbeat!
What do your friends from school think about what you do?
For a long time, they really didn’t understand my lifestyle, especially when I travelled in the winter with windsurfing. But now they’ve all left University I think they’re envious!?