Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: Hi, I’m George, a 22-year-old windsurfer originally from the south coast of England. I grew up in and around the water and not surprisingly most of my passions revolve around the ocean. As the son of two very good windsurfers, there was never any questions about whether I would take up their favorite sport. I now spend my time either teaching windsurfing or travelling to find new windsurf destinations.
Q: Where did your love of the ocean come from?
A: As a kid our family lived a 2-minute drive from the beach. We would spend our summer holidays down there every day. Whether it was windsurfing, kayaking, SUPing or swimming around the mudflats, there was always something to get up to. I decided to be a professional windsurfer because its my favourite thing to do and I’ve always been told to do what makes me happy.
Q: Tell me a bit about your sport – Why did you choose it? What is it about this that thrills you the most?
A: I’ve always been an incredibly competitive person. As a teenager I wanted to be a professional rugby player. However, after breaking both my legs and back I had to give up on those opportunities. I was already a competent windsurfer so decided to go and work in Greece as an instructor. There I improved over the years and recently decided to take it more seriously.
Windsurfing itself is a very difficult sport. There are lots of moving parts, but the beauty is there is always something new to learn. No matter what level you are at there is always the next level. I think that really suits my personality.
Q: Is it a challenging career? What do you enjoy most and how has it changed your life?
A: As an instructor, I have to say it is incredibly rewarding teaching people a new skill. Especially when you know they’ve been saving up for their holiday all year. If you teach them a new skill, they are normally over the moon which also give you as the instructor a real buzz. I would say though, as a “professional” windsurfer, it is quite a difficult path. Don’t get me wrong, the lifestyle is amazing which is the massive draw. However, windsurfing is quite a small sport with very little funding, so finding support to help develop your career can be a real challenge.
Q: What would a typical day look like for you?
A: During the summer when I’m working as an instructor a typical day would start at 9:30, by going down to the bakery for a couple of pastries before work starts at 10. In the mornings we usually teach an hour of windsurf theory in preparation for the afternoon wind. Over lunch we help with carrying equipment and enjoy a little break… In the afternoon the wind usually turns and gets very strong which is great for our intermediate and advanced guests. We do 2 hours teaching in the afternoon and then come in to help run the safety system. The staff have a rota which means we also get to windsurf after all the teaching is done. The wind usually dies as the sun starts to set which is when the beach bar comes to life, where we all enjoy a post work beer or two before dinner and bed…
Q: Has there ever been a dangerous situation? A meeting with a shark or something similar?
A: Touch wood, I’ve never really had any incidences. Lets hope I haven’t jinxed it… haha
Q: If you weren’t doing this, what would you do instead?
A: I have no idea haha
Q: What, so far, do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?
A: As an athlete it has to be going to compete in my first event. Putting together my first heats and surprising myself with my performance. I thought I would be terrified on the water but in fact it was quite the opposite. I had the best time ever.
Q: Where are your favourite places to windsurf?
A: Wow what a question. So many places… For me Cape Town In South Africa has to be up there. You’ve got every single type of windsurf conditions you could imagine alongside one of the coolest cities in the world. Jericoacoara in Brazil is also such a fun spot but also has the coolest vibes of anywhere in the world.
Q: What is your advice to someone considering it as a career?
A: You’re not going to get better talking about it on the beach. Get out there and go for it.
Q: What do you pack for your trips?
A: Haha a lot… Depending on the place but usually between 2-3 32kg windsurf bags (they’re always overweight) plus a suitcase. There is a lot of equipment in windsurfing and it all needs to come around the world with me. Plus, my surfboard, because I also love to surf.
Q: Why OceanЯ? Is there something about the brand that really resonates with you?
A: I encountered OceanЯ through the one and only Mr Adam Chubbock or Chubsy as everyone knows him. He introduced me to the brand and its values which is something we have in common. The fact the clothes are made of recycled ocean plastic is amazing as its my office. You wouldn’t let the rubbish in your skyscraper office block spiral out of control until you couldn’t get in, so why would we do it to the ocean…
Q: Do you have a favourite OceanЯ product?
A: Oh god. I love all of it. Standouts have got to be the boardshorts and the black rashie though. I like to think they suit my style.
Q: What products are you looking forward to testing out?
A: Whenever a new pair of board shorts come out but also the hoodies and jumpers are super comfy for those colder winter months.
Q: What would you tell people about the oceans?
A: LOOK AFTER THEM… It’s not hard to make small conscious efforts to protect them. For example, don’t buy plastic bottles when you could buy a metal reusable one that will even keep it cold for you. Or use alternatives to plastic straws such as paper, straw, pasta or don’t use one at all. Set the example and people will follow…
Q: Can you tell us about any upcoming events/trips/activities you will be taking part in?
A: Unfortunately, the competition season is over for this year. But that means lots of winter trips. I am currently in Brazil for a 6-month trip. Over December I will probably go back to the UK for the first time in almost 2 years to visit some friends and family before heading off to Cape Town for another long stint there. The aim will be to be competitive against the top pros for the first European event in Austria next April.
Q: Anyone you would like to thank who has given you an opportunity to allow you to be where you are?
A: There’s a list haha. The big one would have to be my parents for helping me get into the sport and taking me down to. The beach every time it was windy. I wouldn’t be here now without them. After that there’s a lot of people: Loft Sails and Unifiber for all my equipment as well as Club Vass. Also, the Club Vass beach team boys. There is such a high level on the beach there, it is always so motivating to see everyone around you pushing super hard. It makes you hungry to improve.
Q: If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
A: Eating chocolate cake would make me skinny.