It’s been 18 months since you first walked through the Rockley doors to find out what the Leap course was all about – did you think you would be back again just over a year later?
Hell no! I had no clue. I knew I would complete the whole course but I didn’t think I’d be back again!
And why are you here?
Last season was very new and one of the reasons I called you again was that I wanted to do having had a little bit more experience. Honestly, as soon as I knew what my Uni schedule was, I was straight on the phone to Kat. Coming back to Rockley is like coming home - it was the familiarity. I wanted to come back and not be the newbie. I wanted to come back having done a season. I can’t wait to get going! And I really miss the water.
So, no regrets about doing the Leap for Success course?
I’m so glad I decided to do it. I had done zero watersports before the Leap course. I didn’t like any type of boats, no windsurfing, nothing, I mean I could barely swim – I was so heavy and muscular I would just sink! I’ve always liked the water and I’ve pretty much done every land sport so this was a complete challenge – something completely out of my comfort zone. Genuinely I was so surprised that boat parts have an actual name!
What for you were the best bits?
For me it was just figuring things out for myself. We’d obviously go down and do our training which itself was crazy good as I had no idea what I was doing but it was the moment where everything clicked. It was the morning we went out on Hartley 12s and it was just so windy - I got cleaned out by the boom about 12 times but I was still managing to keep up with the lead boat. That was the big click moment. It’s that whole cliché motivational thing where you get knocked down but get back up again. I capsized the boat and didn’t think twice about it - I mean I was loving it the whole way through but that was a great moment.
You love it but it’s a challenge. You get frustrated. You love it. I just wanted there to be a part two!
You did the course with 19 other people, how was that?
We had a great group of people on the course last year, big time. We were all going through the same thing so it was a great team effort and vibe. We were such a mixture of people – I mean I was 18 but doing the same course as a 24 and a 34-year-old but I didn’t feel out of place at all. We were all in the same boat so we all got on with it. I’m still good friends with most of the guys and we catch up when we can.
And Tom, the course leader was brilliant and the outings that you guys organised in the evenings were just great… I mean definitely keep that going forever.
What were the main challenges you faced?
The whole four seasons thing where we genuinely had every type of weather - snow, rain, wind, sunshine. The one thing we always talk about is the time when we came off the water and we all looked like toothpaste because of the snow!
How the course has changed you?
Ever since I started the Leap course I just thought I would go for stuff. Obviously, everything about the Leap course was new for me and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after college, I knew I was going to do a gap year before Uni – saw this and thought why not.
For me it changed me big time. Because of the fact I knew absolutely nothing, it was very much the belief that If I put my mind to something that I can do it. This is probably one of the first times that I’ve given myself a pat on the back. For the most part I’ve always been pretty good at any type of sport I’ve tried but then going from land to water - I had no idea what I was doing and being able to do it and coming out on top knowing that I’d got all the qualifications was huge for me. Sub consciously it gave me the confidence to do the whole Spain thing because it was another jump out of the comfort zone. I feel that it has prepared me and given me the confidence to take on more challenges and just try stuff. It was a great life experience and learning curve. I’ve learnt not be afraid to take on a challenge and to persevere when things aren’t going well.
Were you confident in a teaching situation, taking on a group of kids?
It was another new situation to be in but because I had have taken charge of a group of people like when I did football coaching, it wasn’t too bad. I lead my first session after about 3 weeks in to the season and soon learnt to adapt to the new environment.
What are your plans after university?
After Uni I hope to do more qualifications and build on what I have already. I really want to carry on with windsurfing above anything, I mean I love sailing now but it was definitely the windsurfing. And I really want to do a bit more travelling.
I like the idea of travelling and doing something. If I can grab a windsurf board and a sail and do something like teaching windsurfing or sailing anywhere in the world, I would love that. I don’t want to go somewhere just for the sake of it and do nothing. At my age I want to experience things and do stuff.
Is it safe to say you have enjoyed your experience at Rockley so far?
Rockley is a great company to work for genuinely. They look after you in a big way. When you think of Rockley you think of family.