Jobs 101: Wakeboarding instructor
Take a closer look at what it is like to work as an extreme sports instructor.
Who: Phaan Tze Wei, 33
Occupation: Wakeboarding instructor at Ryders@Ponggol
Studied: Diploma in Electrical Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic
Tell us more about yourself.
I tried wakeboarding in 2005 and got hooked on it since. On days when I am not working, (besides maintaining my boat) I enjoy doing various sports such as wakeboarding, golfing, rock climbing and yoga.
How and why did you become an instructor?
It came to me by chance. I used to work in a shipyard as a planning engineer, but I lost interest in it after two years. I got to know about wakeboarding through a magazine advertisement, and I decided to try it out because it looked fun.
I fell in love with it after my first session; it is an addictive sport. I would save an amount of my pay to go for wakeboarding sessions. After two years of wakeboarding, my instructor convinced me to buy a boat (along with a boat license), and I have been in this job ever since.
Describe a typical day at work.
The weekdays are unpredictable, it all depends if I have customers or students scheduled. When I coach beginners, I will brief them on the correct techniques and posture before going into the water.
On weekends, the waters are packed with customers and I will be coaching at sea from sunrise to sunset. When there are no bookings, I normally maintain and service my boat, by making sure it is clean and ensuring all parts function properly.
What difficulties do you face?
Being an instructor requires a lot of multitasking. I have to check for flat water (most suitable for wakeboarding), look out for traffic if there are boats around, and coach (be aware of my customer) at the same time.
How long have you been doing this and how has the industry changed?
I have been an instructor for eight years. Not many people knew of wakeboarding when I started coaching in 2007. The sport has grown more popular over the years and there is more demand for the sport in Singapore.
What motivates you in your work?
At the end of the day, I am most satisfied when my customers learn something new and enjoy themselves through the process. Especially when I see my customers go big by being able to do jumps and land nicely.
Any advice for youths who want to be a wakeboarding instructor?
Train yourself to be physically fit and grow strong abdominal muscles. Stay at your limit when you start out, and slowly push yourself to do better. Wakeboarding is an adventurous full body workout sport that needs a lot of patience to master.
None. However, you need to have a boat license and sufficient wakeboarding skills.
Passionate, loves being in the sun and rain.
Official hours are 7am to 7pm. However, it depends if you have customers during the day.
Averages $3,000 to $4,000 a month.