Ever Wanted To Surf For A Living? This Couple Have Nailed Their Dream Lifestyle In The Maldives
Meet the biology teacher and law graduate who left the UK to travel, teach yoga and surf every day
Surfing for a living is pretty much a dream job. But unless you've got the skills and sponsors to be a professional surfer, it's impossible, right? Well, not exactly.
Becky Fox wanted to work in the surf industry after growing up as landlocked kid on the outskirts of London and spent every summer working on the beach in Cornwall.
After studying biology at Exeter University, she went on to set up the first professional surf school in Hong Kong with her partner Kevin.
"Kevin grew up in Hong Kong, he really wanted to make surfing accessible to the local community," says Becky.
Hong Kong did have a surf scene, but Becky explains there wasn't much education about safety, ettiquette and equipment at the time.
"People just went into a shop and brought the latest Kelly Slater models and jumped straight in. It was actually pretty scary to surf there!"
The pair set up their surf school, Surf Hong Kong, in 2011 in the beautiful Sai Kung country park. This meant they had access to the emptiest cleanest breaks around.
Becky worked as a biology teacher while running surf lessons and outdoor education camps for kids with special needs.
After three years running the surf camp, Becky and Kevin decided they needed a new adventure. They packed everything they owned into a single suitcase and a board bag - and jumped on a plane.
They headed to Sri Lanka to work on a surf camp - but Becky's job there fell through last minute.
"I had nothing to do for a few months. I took it as a sign, booked a flight to India and join a yoga teacher training programme with the Kranti Yoga School in Goa. I’m so glad the job didn’t work out, as it was one of the best months I’ve had."
Becky believes there is a really strong connection between surfing and yoga.
"Surfing isn't just a hobby, it's a lifestyle. I think yoga is similar to that - it's not something you just do once a week at the gym."
Becky practices and teaches Ashtanga yoga, which requires a lot of core and upper body strength - perfect for surfing.
"I get the same benefits from yoga as I would after a good surf session. I'm less stressed. I have more energy and I'm generally healthier and happier."
Kevin and Becky are now programme managers with Tropicsurf, a luxury surf company, in the Maldives.
They are responsible for all surf related activities at two big name hotels - from beginner lessons to guided boat trips. Guests can even charter a private seaplane to hunt out the perfect empty wave.
"My goal was always to work somewhere I loved - I didn't want to have to leave my job to go on holiday."
However, it's not all sunset surfs and sipping Mai Tais in paradise. "People who work in the Maldives definitely get island fever," says Becky.
"It takes me ten minutes to walk around the whole resort. Someone once said it's like living in the world's most beautiful jail."
Becky has come a long way since her days of watching Blue Crush on the outskirts of London. Does she ever miss the UK?
"I definitely miss my friends and family - but food comes pretty close. Sunday roasts and good chocolate. And Christmas! Christmas just isn’t the same anywhere else than at home."
So what advice would Becky give to someone who loves surfing and wants to get a job in the industry?
"Working in the surf industry is pretty cheap. You don’t need to be limited by money, compared to working in a fancy law firm in London where your expenses are really high."
"If you want to surf, work and travel, you really don’t need that much money. Rent and food can be cheap or even free on the road.
"We offered our time and skills in return for work experience or accommodation rather than money. Just put yourself out there. Make contacts by being approachable and helpful."
Becky and Kevin are living a lifestyle that many of us would dream of - working on a beach, surfing and practicing yoga every day. Some people might say they are lucky, but it's life they have worked hard to build around their passions.
"I love the lifestyle surfing has given me. A lot of people still think surfers are just beach bums. Kevin is a law graduate and I'm a biology teacher, I think a lot of people are surprised when we teach them to surf!"