Ismael Herreros - Surf Instructor

Patagonia and the Andes aside, when it comes to natural wonders, Chile also boasts some of the most pristine and consistent surf breaks, including Punta de Lobos in the O'Higgins Region of Pichilemu. We caught up with one of the locals to find out what a career as a surfing instructor in this amazing location entails.  

Describe your typical day…
My alarm goes off around 9am, I wake up and look out through my bedroom window to check the weather/surf conditions. This is followed by a good breakfast, which always includes fresh fruit juice - I like to eat well and start the day hydrated.

My surf lessons usually start at 11 am so I have time in the morning for some stretching or yoga and a quick water of the plants in my garden. My surf lessons take about three hours, which normally includes a quick trip into Pichilemu to pick up my clients. From there it’s onto Punta de Lobos to surf!

When I’ve worn out my students, and if the waves are good, I will get in a quick surf. Then it’s back into town and time to eat! If I have more lessons in the afternoon then it’s pick-up time again and back to Punta de Lobos. Otherwise, it’s down time at home, usually doing some work on my business or running errands in town. If I’m up for it and the waves are really good, which happens more often than not, then I’ll hit the surf again at sunset or low tide. After all that I’m usually home around 9pm and ready to crash!

How long have you been surfing?
I started surfing at age 11 and I’m now 29 so have been practicing for 18 years.

What do you surf?
I surf whatever I can surf – short boards, long boards, guns, single-fin, twin-fin, thruster, quadster, finless, alaia. I really enjoy using different equipment so my surfing doesn’t get stuck on one particular board. I like to play and have a bit of fun with all of the different options available for various waves and conditions. For me, it’s all about enjoying the experience and the feeling that different boards give you, this also keeps me motivated to surf all the time.

How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching surf lessons during the summer here in Punta de Lobos about 10 years ago with one of the local surf schools. At the end of 2012, I started my own business (Océanos Chile), so I now teach surfing and stand-up paddle boarding lessons and I offer various Ecotourism activities.

What is the best part about being a Surfing Instructor?
All the time you get to spend in the water! Plus the opportunity to teach something that I love, and to inspire people to enjoy and experience a sport that is so closely connected to nature.

What is the hardest part about being a Surfing Instructor?
Definitely the cold conditions! In Pichilemu, the water is cold all year round (temperature averages 15°C or 59°F). When you spend as much time in the water as I do it can get pretty cold. You get to certain point where the cold goes right through to your bones and you have to get out of the water, rest and get yourself into on a hot tub or super hot shower pronto!

What are your favourite surf breaks?
There are so many here in Chile! Punta de Lobos is the one of the best and most consistent and has given me more opportunity to surf than anywhere else in the world. I also like the waves in Arica (northern part of Chile) - El Gringo and El Buey are really heavy, challenging waves so they test your skill at the top.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a Surfing Instructor?
Take the time to really hone your skills and improve. Make sure you’re a safe surfer and show respect for everyone in the water. As an instructor, you have to be a good example for your students. The line-ups are often crowded and more and more people are wanting to surf, which is awesome, so we need more surf instructors teaching people what to do and how to share waves, surf safely and of course, have fun.

Where can we find you online?



Posted by: Jaclyn Knight, on February 24, 2014
Categories: Interviews