There can be no cooler sport than surfing. Tell anyone you just went surfing and they can hardly help but grudgingly offer you their respect. And yet it still seems a sport so few are willing to get involved in.
Perhaps it’s this very ‘coolness’ factor that deters some, fearing ridicule for not fitting the blonde, tanned and toned stereotype of the surfer. Perhaps it’s the fear of the wild ocean and it’s mysterious inhabitants. Or perhaps it’s something as simple as those who want to are landlocked and those who can quietly go about it without drawing too much attention for fear their precious waves will become crowded.
When she returned home to South Africa she found herself in an office job, and quickly realised that she would not survive the week in such an environment. It was shortly after this that she came up with the idea for a mobile surf school while working for a backpackers in Cape Town, and in August 2009 she launched her first lessons with rented boards on the beach in Muizenberg.
Less than a year later her little business had grown to such proportions that she could invest in all her own equipment and her school officially became mobile.
So apart from the sun, sea and sand for an office, what is the best part of being a surfing coach?
"Watching students experiencing 'the stoke' for the first time is incredible. No matter how many students I push into to two foot waves in a day, it still brings such a smile to my face when I see them stand up on their first wave,” she says, adding, “I feel such a feeling of joy when I see their big grin or hear them hooting with delight after experiencing 'the stoke'."
. Michelle teaching some of her younger students the basics
And speaking from personal experience, it’s really hard not to hoot with delight when you catch your first wave. In fact, I think it should be mandatory.