How to get a job as a watersports Instructor

Your dream job pathway to teaching windsurfing, SUP and sailing.

Watersports instructor roles are within reach for many of us. Windsurfing, dinghy sailing and paddle boarding instructor jobs are very achievable. Even if you don’t necessarily come from a watersports background, All it takes is that initial spark and decision to set off on that dream job pathway. Working overseas, teaching watersports and becoming an instructor – Here’s how to go about it.

In this guide we’ll look at the following topics –


The decision to travel, work in the sunshine and on the water.

Regardless of your background, the watersports travel industry is open to all, and the best way is to become a watersports instructor! You may never have been near a board or a boat, and yet something sparks the decision to begin the journey to the sunshine. We hear often that candidates have a lack of watersports experience. But it really doesn’t make a difference. During your course, you’ll gain all that necessary knowledge and accrue all the personal skills needed.

Some think they’ll never become a watersports instructor and so don’t commit. But that could be a mistake if you have the bug for travel and a passion for being in/on the ocean. If you can turn this into getting paid then great. Deciding to ‘do it’ is the first step. Then the excitement can begin.

Those with prior watersports experience.

For those with prior watersports experience – whether windsurfing, dinghy sailing or paddle boarding – it’s even simpler. You’ll already have those foundational skills to get that instructor’s ticket under your belt. All you need to do is make that leap…

From beginners to advanced riders, including early intermediates, Watersports Nomad instructor courses are open to all. So why wouldn’t you turn your passion and hobby into a paying job? A job that many regard as a dream, yet it’s more achievable than you think.

Where to do your watersports instructor training course?

Choosing the location for your watersports instructor training is an important decision and will affect the enjoyment of the experience as well as the outcome. There are three main objectives during a Watersports Nomad course.

Click on one of the box links below to discover more about Watersports Nomad watersports instructor courses.

Why not head somewhere with guaranteed sunshine, warmth and wind? Combine this with the latest watersports equipment (which can seriously speed up progression) and you have a winning recipe. Ultimately, where and who you do your training with is your decision. But take it from us when we say Watersports Nomad in Vassiliki sees plenty of success through being in a consistently breezy location with less need for neoprene layers the better.

Course checks and realisations.

For anybody thinking of becoming a watersports instructor, we’d urge you to check the course details thoroughly. This will give some idea of what you’ll be required to complete to gain those all important accreditations. Whilst a Watersports Nomad instructor course is fun there’s still work involved on your part.

Once you’re in commitment is key. This is not a Greek holiday! During your watersports instructor training in Vassiliki, you’re put through an intensive period of learning. It’s physically and mentally demanding. But the rewards are so worth it. We’d therefore urge any prospective candidate to appreciate this and make sure it’s definitely something you want to do before committing. Doing a course like this is how to NAIL YOUR DREAM JOB AS A WATERSPORTS INSTRUCTOR. And it doesn’t matter if you have no prior dinghy, windsurfing or paddle boarding experience.

Deciding which Watersports Nomad instructor training course is best.

Watersports Nomad offers a variety of watersports instructor training courses. These are designed to target different wants, needs and budgets. See the yellow Watersports Nomad training course links above.

Some students may only want to tick off their dinghy sailing instructor ticket. Others may fancy obtaining their windsurfing instructor qualification. If you want to be able to teach all the Watersports and make yourself as employable as possible. Nomad gives the option of getting qualified in dinghy sailing, cat sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding all in one course (plus all the Pre- Requisites you’ll need such as first aid and powerboat tickets). and more!

Getting a job in the watersports holiday industry – what qualifications do I need?

Watersports Nomad has long established links with the watersports holiday industry. We have connections with some of the biggest watersports holiday providers – like Club Vass, Wildwind, Neilson, Mark Warner, Seafarer Sailing, Trek Adventures (now rebranded to Beyond Beach) and the Peligoni Club to name a few. We also help smaller setups – like sailing clubs – find staff. Including those located in the UK.

If you’re looking to get a job abroad as a seasonaire and work for a company then having more qualifications will stand you in good stead. Watersports holiday companies offer a wide and varied programme of activities. The more accreditations you have the broader your job prospects. For those students looking to work in more specialist environments – such as UK sailing clubs – you may not need all the watersports instructor qualifications Watersports Nomad offers. Your personal situation, wants and needs will dictate which route you go down. 

Watersports Nomad – trusted and respected instructor training.

Watersports Nomad has been in the game for a considerable length of time. Even having rebranded a few years back we’re a respected and trusted watersports training company who turn out quality instructors every time. See what Watersports Nomad Google Reviews say.

Watersports Nomad Vassiliki
Watersports Nomad: trusted across the watersports industry the world over.

It’s not just about coaching skills either. The Watersports Nomad culture ensures trainees develop all the additional skills – such as communication abilities – to do the job well. We guide, nurture and steer all our students down the right path ready for that dream job in the watersports industry.

What does Vassiliki offer for watersports instructor trainees?

Vassiliki is an iconic windsurfing and watersports Greek location found on the stunning island of Lefkada. Lefkada itself is synonymous with sailing and the main town of Lefkas is buzzing in summer with all manner of boats and onshore ‘distractions’ giving it a unique vibe. Further along the coast is Nydri – another well frequented stop off for sailors with more in the way of bars, tavernas and such. Vass Bay sits on the southern side of the island and is a pretty spot hemmed in by mountains, and has been internationally renowned as a watersports haven since the 80s.

Click the map to see Vassilki on Google.

In the morning Vassiliki Bay starts with glassy flat water which is ideal for swimming, paddle boarding and eFoiling. The onshore sea breeze then fills in around 10am (ish) giving beginner and improver windsurfers and dinghy sailors the perfect training ground. The cross shore wind builds during the afternoon as the thermal heat is accelerated down the mountainside from the right. There’s often a force 4-5 to enjoy but it’s not uncommon to have more breeze! Combined with the windy phenomenon, Greek summer weather, warm water, amazing watersports equipment and an authentic Greek experience, budding watersports instructors will enjoy the best experience whilst on a Watersports Nomad course.

Working with the industry’s best watersports partners.

Vassiliki is home to some of the watersports industry’s most highly respected partners. It just so happens Watersports Nomad work with these businesses to ensure our trainee instructors get the best experience possible.

Wildwind is noted as being the premier performance dinghy sailing school in Europe. The selection of high performance boats and coaching experience is second to none. Club Vass meanwhile has been at the forefront of all things windsurfing since the early days of the sport. No other centre compares in terms of the amount of quality (new) windsurfing kit and teaching. With the explosion of foiling, Club Vass are also at the forefront of this new way of riding. They also do a good line in paddle boarding. E-Vass are our eFoiling and eBike partner provider, with many others in the mix to make sure you get the best experience possible. Click on the logo images below to find out more about each provider.

What’s next along the watersports instructor pathway?

Once you’ve chosen which Watersport Nomad instructor course you want to do it’s time to book it. Reserving your place is essential as there are only a certain number of spots available. We work within strict ratios to make sure course delivery is tip top.

If you need any further questions answered, before booking, then please get in touch. We do our best to address all your queries via our Blog articles, Vassiliki Frequently Asked Questions and course info. But we are always happy to help!

There’s MUCH more to being a watersports instructor than just watersports. It’s a lifestyle thing!

Getting prepared for my Watersports Nomad instructor course.

Being prepared for your Watersports Nomad instructor course is essential. Even if your start date is seemingly a way off it’ll come around quickly.

You’ll need the appropriate clothing sorted. This includes both water gear and threads for after your time afloat. Greece in summer can be extremely warm, so hats and suncream is on the list. You may need a shorty wetsuit at the start of our season but come the middle of summer you won’t. We provide you with a Watersports Nomad Water Vest to protect you from the sun’s UV rays. Considering what you pack for classroom sessions and social nights out is also key. Once you have paid your deposit you will receive a detailed kit list and joining instructions.

From beginner to advanced rider Vassiliki has amazing conditions for everyone.

Do I need to bring specialist pieces of kit?

Everything you need for the technical on water aspects of your watersports instructor training will be provided. That said, the one piece of equipment we recommend you bring is your own harness. Some good harness options here.

Some riders do consider bringing their own windsurfing kit but this is only in extreme circumstances as we do provide all the best equipment for the course. We can potentially arrange storage of equipment in Vass, but you’ll need to speak with us prior to your arrival to arrange this.

Some Nomads on top of the world with their inclusive E-bike ride included as part of their course.

Bits and bobs you may also want while becoming a watersports instructor.

Getting around in Vass is pretty easy on foot. The centre of town is two minutes from the accommodation. That said some students do hire bikes to get around. 

We’re mentioning this because once here on the ground some do choose to hire bikes for the duration of their stay. You can do this but it’ll be an extra cost and an arrangement between you and the hire company. Watersports Nomad can point you in the direction of reputable hire businesses but it’s your responsibility to arrange and sort out any monies owed.

At the very least a decent pair of sunnies is a must!

Insurance and travel visas.

Its very unlikely a Greek travel visa will be required to do the course, but It’s down to you to check this BEFORE your departure from your country of origin. You can get all the relevant travel info and visa guidance from your country’s government website by searching online. But if you have any specific questions please get in touch with us.

We also recommend taking out adequate insurance. Watersports do carry an element of risk and it’d be unfortunate to end a situation without sufficient cover. You should be able to find all the info you need online here. But if you’re struggling get in touch with us.

Watersports Nomad instructor course accommodation.

In Vass town, Watersports Nomad has set availability for students to book our accommodation. This is what most candidates tend to do as it’s a way to live with your fellow students as well as being affordable. These are shared rooms although for an additional cost, you can arrange a private single occupancy room. Find out more about Watersports Nomad accommodation here.

In some instances, students may want to arrange their own accommodation elsewhere in Vass. Should you choose this option it’s your responsibility. Watersports Nomad accepts no liability for privately rented rooms. 

The first day of your Watersports Nomad instructor course.

Your first day in Vassiliki on a Watersports Nomad instructor course will be extremely exciting. Everything will be new and you’ll be buzzing – which is understandable. 

Watersports Nomad staff will greet and welcome you before showing you where everything is. At this time you’ll also meet your fellow students and some of the staff who’ll be training you. In. In no time at all you’ll be settled in and raring to get going. 

You’ll be getting after it in no time!

Training days on the water (as well as classroom and simulators).

Whilst training we’d urge all Watersports Students to fully commit. There’ll be a huge amount of info to take in. Practical on water skills, and classroom, simulator and theory sessions can be intense. But it’s fun as well as educational. For sure, you will be able to unwind in the evening. In fact, this is encouraged. But be ready to go once again the following morning.

Each week students get an R&R day so you can let your hair down at this time. That said many choose to maximise their time in Vass by checking out the area and surrounds. There’s plenty to discover. If it’s looking windy more time on the water, riding for personal fulfilment, is an option. We don’t expect this but if you’re keen then fill your boots! During assessments, we’d suggest you be 100% focused and ready to smash it. 

Watersports Nomad – your guide and mentor.

Watersports Nomad and its staff are extremely experienced. We’ve worked in the watersports industry for a long time. We’ve seen most things……

Watersports Instructor
Watersports Nomad will guide and mentor you every step of the way.

We appreciate instructor training courses are intense – both in the water and away from it. Sometimes students do get wobbles, which is ok. In these situations, we’d urge anyone with anxieties to come and speak with us. Usually talking things through will allay any fears and put any issues to bed. We’ll do all we can to help.

Watersports instructor assessments.

Throughout your Watersports Nomad course, you’ll be given the practical and knowledge led skills to teach students. Come assessment weeks you’ll be required to demonstrate this to your trainer. Having done so correctly you’ll get your instructor ticket signed off and become a bona fide coach.

All this takes hard work on your part though. Nothing is guaranteed. But we’ll make sure you’re in the best place possible to succeed. Should you have any element of the course deferred Watersports Nomad will give you an action plan and signpost a route to get this sorted.

Nailing that dream job in the watersports industry.

Getting your dream job in the watersports industry, as a dinghy sailing, windsurfing and SUP instructor is made all the easier by enrolling on a Watersports Nomad instructor course. Our respected training schemes see companies approach us for qualified staff. Whilst this doesn’t guarantee you a job it does mean the odds are increased.

Sailing Instructor Vassiliki
You’ll gain all the skills needed to nail your dream watersports instructor job.

As with employment opportunities you’ll need to go through an interview process. But getting the opportunity to sit in front of the right person, conducting those interviews and making decisions, is more likely having done your course and gotten qualified. As with all parts of the process, Watersports Nomad will do its level best to prepare you for all situations. 

What happens once I’m offered a job?

Should you be successful in your watersports job application you’ll then be offered a position at a resort. In some cases, you may be given a choice. Sometimes it’ll be one location and position. That depends on a few factors, not least how well you come across in your interview.

Upon accepting the role you then be jetting off to the chosen destination where you’ll integrate as part of the team and begin your employment within the watersports industry as an instructor. And this is when things can get really interesting…

Living the watersports instructor dream.

Having landed your dream dinghy sailing or windsurfing instructor role (or both) you’ll be living the dream. Out in the resort all manner of guests, from every walk of life, will be inbound to you for all that valuable knowledge you can impart. Showing them the ropes (literally) is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. After all, what’s better than being paid to teach and do something you love? But it doesn’t just stop there…

As a watersports instructor, you’ll get the chance to immerse yourself in a foreign culture and become part of the local way of life. There are experiences you’ll get from living overseas you never could’ve imagined. All of this can shape you as a human being. We’ve heard countless stories from others who’ve followed a similar path and how becoming a windsurfing or dinghy instructor made them into the person they are today. The interpersonal skills you’ll hone, problem solving, people management and more can help later in life. Plus, you never know who you’re going to meet. Some of these connections can also prove invaluable sometimes years down the line. Ultimately though you’ll just be having fun and living your best life.

What are the next steps for further development?

Some instructors may only choose to work a few seasons whereas others make watersports their lifelong work. Having gotten qualified as an instructor with Watersports Nomad you can then develop and add to these qualifications further. Gaining higher level accreditation is a good move. Alternatively, switching to other areas of watersports and diversifying your skillset will see you become even more employable.

There’s instructor training itself which you could pursue. Or perhaps management is more up your street. In rare cases, some previous Watersports Nomad trainees have found themselves a niche and created a role completely unique to their situation. The bottom line is becoming a watersports instructor can open doors and lead to things you never considered.

Where watersports instructor jobs can take you long term.

Having taken that initial and become a watersports instructor via a Watersports Nomad course your first summer of employment will pass by in a blur. Following that high season of fun and fulfilment, it’s then time to think of bettering your qualifications if working long term within the industry is your goal.

RYA Intermediate windsurf instructor qualifications open up a whole load of new opportunities. You can teach students to a higher level and push their skills on even further. You may consider instructor mentoring. Colleagues on the ladder rung before yours will need to develop and you may be the person for this. Whilst you won’t be at instructor training level you’d certainly be able to impart valuable knowledge none the less.

Here are a few examples of higher level watersports jobs you may move onto –

Even more watersports industry job opportunities.

The above is a list of what further employment opportunities may exist within the company you work for initially. More widely becoming a watersports instructor could open the door to other prospects. 

Here are some more examples. Note: these positions are what some previous instructor trainees have ended up doing. How you get there is down to you and how you choose to go along ‘the path.’ All roads, however, start with becoming a watersports instructor first.

Pro coach and Club Vass manager Ollie Scott showing how it’s done!

What salary am I likely to earn as a watersports instructor?

Teaching windsurfing, dinghy sailing or paddle boarding is a dream job. Especially when working with one of the overseas watersports holiday providers like Neilson and Mark Warner. The companies in question offer a package which usually covers your transport to and from resort during the season, accommodation, visa requirements, health and insurance cover, some meals, all use of watersports equipment and cash paid monthly. 

Watersports Team Photo
Watersports instructor salaries can vary depending on who you work for, at what level and your qualifications.

The latter isn’t always as much as you may envisage due to your salary having to cover all the aforementioned bits. But whilst in the resort you shouldn’t need a lot either. Mainly your salary will cover personal costs not within your contractual budget. The savvy may be able to save whilst working in resort. And if your employer operates an end of season bonus scheme (which some do) this can be added to. 

What about watersports salaries within the UK? 

Some watersports centres do operate a live in scheme through the summer months within the UK and Ireland. These work much the same way as overseas resort jobs. 

UK watersports instructor jobs can be a little different, in terms of the package, but no less worthwhile.

Many windsurfing, sailing and SUP instructor UK job roles, are delivered as a standard Job. As in, you get paid a normal wage for the work you do based on a number of days or hours. Peripherals, such as food and accommodation, aren’t covered. Although as part of any team, you may be entitled to subsidies. If working at a sailing club for instance there may be staff discounts on food and drink.

What personal cost outlays are there for becoming a watersports instructor?

Being located in Vassiliki, Greece, Watersports Nomad has access to warm water, warm weather and all the equipment you need. During your training programme you won’t therefore need much kit. A thinner, shorty or spring wetsuit may be advantageous – especially at the start and end of summer. Anti-UV rash guards, hats, board shorts and wet shoes will be mostly what you wear in the water. You’ll need plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses and suitable clothing to protect from the sun. Windsurfers may choose to bring their own harness, although these are provided so not essential.

Watersports Instructor
Anti-UV water wear is a good idea in Vass as the sun can be strong.

If working in the UK you’ll probably need more protective wet weather gear. Of course, whilst the UK does get good weather in summer it’s never guaranteed like in Greece.

What about when I do get a watersports instructor job?

Many companies provide a staff uniform for their employees. In most instances, this may mean you get water kit. But you’ll still need a few bits of your own.

All the toys! And you get to pay with the lot!

The same goes for hardware. There’ll be an abundance of windsurf, dinghy and SUP kit available for staff to use when guests aren’t. As your personal skills improve, however, you may feel the need to take your own. Just be aware of the additional transportation and storage costs if this is your choice. But it could prove a wise move when on the ground – especially during days off when you may want to head away from the resort.

What does a typical watersports instructor day look like?

Watersports holiday companies tend to run a setup programme prior to the actual season starting. This requires full season staff to help get the centre and all equipment ready for guest’s arrival. It can often be a time when staff can advance their training and head out on the water to improve personal sailing, windsurfing and paddling skills. There’s usually lots to do requiring everyone to ‘muck in’. Which can be a great chance to further your skill set and industry understanding.

Teaching, teaching and more teaching! But it’s such a rewarding job.

As those first guests arrive watersports instructor staff will be the first faces seen. The first few hours will be a case of helping all guests to their rooms before socialising and helping them relax in. First morning a staff briefing will be held followed by a guest briefing. Students will split off into their relevant groups and teaching will begin. Staff not coaching will be on hand for free sailors, helping out on the beach and safety cover. Lunchtime will see a skeleton of staff for guests wanting to remain on the water. Afternoons are a return to group instruction followed by an end of session debrief. Evenings are filled with socials with some staff members in attendance. A full programme of teaching covers five to six days. All staff get one day off a week, and those teaching usually have transfer days to themselves. Transfer day itself is then a time to say goodbye to guests leaving, sort out any centre maintenance issues and get ready for a new week and guest turnaround. It’s extremely full on but very rewarding.

What about year round watersports instructor employment?

As you’ve no doubt picked up from this article seasons are about travelling around the world for different periods. Come autumn the European watersports holiday market is starting to wind down. Here at Watersports Nomad October signals us being very near the end of our training programme. But there are still opportunities for continuing your journey within the industry if you’re looking for year round employment.

Year round watersports instructor jobs are available if you’re keen to follow that path.

The obvious one within Europe- not that it’s watersports per se – is working in the mountains and doing a ski/snowboard season. A variety of opportunities exist from chalet hosts, reps and instructors to guides and so on. This can be a good way to get through the winter months and still be connected to the same companies and set up style as the summer. Some businesses operate watersports holidays through the off season that you could end up gaining employment from. If this appeals you’d need to put in your application and see what came of it. Alternatively, employment in the UK at somewhere like your local sailing club might work. Even if on a part-time basis.

Winter sun and watersports instructor roles.

We touched on this very briefly above in the ‘more opportunities’ section but we’re mentioning it again. As well as their being an abundance of watersports jobs in the summer, There are places that can provide work and play for watersports instructors in the Northern Hemisphere winter, examples of these places are –

If you have any questions about any of these specifically please do get in touch with us.

Windsurfing in a suit
Cookie, doing his thing…

With experience, you could look to set up your own watersports coaching business. Following a few seasons and gaining further qualifications you’ll possibly have the right credentials for the pro coaching route. Furthering your reputation and gaining a solid client base takes work, but you can make it with determination and the right attitude. Of which, that initial Watersports Nomad instructor training course will stand you in good stead.

Summing up the watersports instructor training experience.

Becoming a watersports instructor, as we’ve already said, is open to anyone. You don’t need any previous experience. Once you’re with us, on the ground in Vassiliki, the journey will begin. Very soon you’ll be on a sunny blue sky beach teaching all manner of people to windsurfing, sail and paddle board. Where it goes from there is your choice. The ‘zero to hero’ concept may sound implausible. But with Watersports Nomad as your guide and teacher, it’s 100% achievable. If you’re thinking about changing your life for the better then becoming a watersports instructor is one to make that happen.

For more info or info please contact us here at Watersports Nomad HQ. We’re only happy to help and guide you. And for even more inspiration check out the following articles.