The Perks of Working in the Surf Industry

If you take a person who really enjoys their job and do a little digging into why they enjoy it, there’s a good chance that they will tell you it’s not necessarily the job itself that they love, but rather it’s the perks of the job that make it really worth coming back to day after day. It might seem obvious to assert that working in the surf industry comes with its own suite of sector-specific benefits. But what are some of the added bonuses that make working in and around the world of surfing so attractive?

First things first – what is the surf industry?

The surf industry itself is really just an unruly hodgepodge of subsectors, pursuits, interests and vices, all brought together by an affiliation with the ocean and those who play in it. Because of this, the perks are equally diverse. But some positive factors are ubiquitous and span across these divisions or groupings and, for the sake of brevity, we will focus this post on just a small selection of these across-the-board sweeteners.

Street cred

Whether you are looking for it or not, working in the surf industry is cool. Tell anyone you work in a surf-related job and their first reaction, nine times out of ten, will be “cool”, tinged with just a little bit of envy. And let’s face it - surfing is cool. Not the superficial, “look at me, I’m part of the in-crowd” kind of cool, but rather the interesting, creative and intellectually engaging kind of cool. People seem to instinctively recognise this about surfing, even if they have yet to experience it themselves, and if you are working in a surf-related job, it is by way of this association that your street cred climbs. 

It’s all about the people

One of the biggest advantages of working in the surf industry is that you get to work and interact with a diverse assortment of switched on, creative people who are genuinely passionate about what they do. You’ll see it again and again on; interviews with people working in the industry who say they’re the luckiest person in the world, because they get paid to do the thing they love. That kind of enthusiasm is infectious and it can really inspire you to grab life by the scruff and squeeze every last drop of goodness from it.

Cheap clothes, equipment or accessories

There’s no question that everyone likes free stuff. Being a surfer is not a particularly cheap pastime, when you factor in the cost of equipment, transport, clothing and accessories. Whether you subscribe to it or not, fashion is a huge part of the surf industry and surf styles have enjoyed an ever-increasing popularity over the past couple of decades. Increased demand results in higher prices; it’s the nature of the beast. With this in mind, an employee’s discount can make a big difference to someone working in a relatively low paid retail position. Similarly, the cost of boards, wetsuits and other associated surfing equipment adds up pretty quickly and a staff discount could mean the difference between being sealed snugly within glued seams, or another winter spent suffering the repeated indignity of having a bucketful of freezing water wash down your back each time you duckdive.

Living and working close to the ocean

If you’re reading this blog, then it’s more than likely that you are, or intend in the near future, to become a surfer. Until wave pools become a viable reality, this requires the ocean - lake and river surfers notwithstanding. Live, work or even travel close to the ocean for any length of time and it will soon get under your skin and into your bloodstream. It is and has been a source of inspiration for countless generations of writers, musicians, artists and other creative people. Likewise, but perhaps more prosaically, nothing recharges the batteries quite like a dip in the briny blue. Working in a surf-related job is the perfect way to ensure that you are close to the source of inspiration, or just able to get to the surf quickly once you finish work for the day. 

Health and fitness

Although there are still a few people who subscribe to the tired old stereotype of the live-hard, play-hard drug-addled surfie dropout, they are definitely in the minority these days. The health benefits of surfing are well documented and the today’s image of the archetypal surfer is far more optimistic, revolving around fitness, active lifestyle and the pursuit of positive peak experiences. If you are a surfer you are already experiencing these benefits each time you hit the water. But if you’re not, but want to learn, working in a surf-related job might be just the catalyst you need to keep the stoke levels high and turn that desire into a lifelong obsession, along with all it’s associated health benefits.

These are, of course, just five of the numerous perks that can be scored through working in the surf industry. Surfing is to many people a way of life, so really, any job you can get that facilitates more stoke, creative inspiration and opportunities to hit the water has got to be a positive in my books. 

Posted by: Cass Selwood, on May 8, 2014
Categories: Articles