Having worked at Watergate Bay for over 8 years, Carl’s face is a familiar one. It’s fair to say Carl has a lot of fun at work as Sports Manager at The Extreme Academy, but before joining the team Carl worked as an engineer in the Royal Air Force and was even Waveski World Champion in 2003.
How long have you worked at Watergate Bay Hotel?
I’ve worked at Watergate Bay for over 8 years now. Before I worked here Sports Manager of XA I worked as an engineer in the Royal Air Force and I also had a waveski business. When I first joined what’s now the Extreme Academy there were only three sports taught in the bay; mountain boarding, kite surfing and waveski. In 2005 all the sports merged together to form the Extreme Academy and link to the hotel. It was then that we introduced more activities and developed the skills of our instructors.
Were you involved in the development of Extreme Academy?
Very much so, I helped with the merging of the three sports and I introduced surfing to the Extreme Academy which is now the most popular sport we teach. I also pushed for the instructors to take several qualifications to make them into multi-sport instructors, many of our chaps can now teach surfing, SUP, kitesurfing and waveski.
What does your job entail?
As well as day to day running of the department, I teach all the sports available so I am usually out in the sea taking a lesson. I also manage the budget, rota and design and development of Extreme Academy.
There is always an event or activity to organise at the bay, whether it’s helping set up Polo On The Beach or heading off to a Cardio Cycle, I’m busy. I love being active which is lucky as it’s a big part of my job.
What’s Cardio cycle?
Every Monday and Thursday I run a Cardio Cycle class from the studio at Watergate Bay Hotel. Cardio Cycle is very similar to spinning. It’s an hour long class on static bikes designed to strengthening the legs, build endurance and improving your overall fitness
What is your favourite part of your job?
Being on the beach everyday. I love feeling all the seasonal changes; watching the weather and the conditions change and seeing the beach come alive every day.
Can you sum up your job in three words?
What’s unique about Extreme Academy?
Unlike many surf schools we are open 364 days of the year; we plough on through the winter and make the most of the big swells that come with the season. Our lessons are still busy throughout the winter months and we cater for the colder temperatures with thicker wetsuits, boots, gloves, hats and a hot shower once your back on dry land.
What’s your favourite extreme activity to teach?
That’s a close one between waveski and kite surfing, not because I am the best at them but because I love developing peoples skills and seeing the progress that people make. It’s fulfilling and rewarding to see people get the results they’re hoping for on the water.
We can’t interview you without asking about becoming waveski champion. Can you tell us a bit about it?
As I said, I was in the Royal Air Force before I came to Extreme Academy and they very kindly funded my worldly travels in waveski. I traveled the world for 20 years, always accompanied by my trusty waveski. Then in Guadalupe, 2003, I competed in a competition and won, becoming world champion.
We also want to ask about your trip to Kenya.
It was amazing. I went there because I wanted to learn how to kite surf and it became apparent that Extreme Academy needed a kite surfing instructor as the sport was growing popular in Cornwall. In Kenya the conditions are perfect for kite surfing because the trade winds were consistent and there was a perfect lagoon to do it in. I practiced every day for a month and then when I came back to England I was able to take my instructors course. I also entered into a kite surfing racing competition after 3 weeks of learning how to kite surf. I was seeded last place because everyone knew that I was a beginner. Because of my determination and competitive spirit I was able to get into the final and I ended up finishing in 2nd place!
What is your favourite time of year to be in the water?
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite time of year to be in the water because the cold doesn’t bother me. But everyone loves when the conditions are perfect, when the waves are just what you want for surfing or when the wind is perfect for kite surfing.
If anyone needs some downtime it’s you Carl, so when you’re not at work where can we find you?
Either cycling the trails at Cardinham or Lanhydrock or at the cinema checking out the latest blockbuster.