Mike Raven has been with the ASI UK since 2008. From a 6 year old Grommet in Cornwall to an ASI level 4 master surfing coach based in sunny Portugal, Mike is a very experienced surf instructor.
We caught up with Mike to find out more about his surf instructor lifestyle and his journey to becoming an ASI Master surfing coach.
Hi Mike; tell us a bit about your background
“I started surfing at the age of 6 in 1975 in Bude (46 years surfing), Cornwall, UK. I competed from the age of 14-30. Highlights being
- European Champion at 17 years (still a junior) in the open, ages 18 and over.
- 15th World Championships under 18
- 3 British titles, one of which he held just last year.
- 3 English titles.
- Picked to surf for Britain 3 times.
- Has won many Pro-Am competitions.
- Captained the Cornish team at Widemouth Bay in the Celtic Watersports Festival, in which the team won.”
How did you get started in surfing?
“My Mum was a keen swimmer, she taught me to swim more or less as soon as I could walk. She bought me a huge blue pop-out with a picture of the cartoon character Speedy Gonzales on it when I was six.
“We had an old VW bug at the time, I can always remember the surfboard sliding from side to side on the roof as we went around bends on the way to the beach, Mum would have to lug it around for me as I couldn’t carry it.”
Why did you become an ASI qualified surf instructor?
“I have owned my own surf schools since 2004. Starting in Bude UK under the name Mike Raven Surf School. I became an ASI instructor and ASI Surfing Instructor Trainer when the ASI first came to the UK in 2008.”
What are you doing right now?
I live in Portugal and run my own surf school in the Algarve. Back in 2016, we (my wife, and 7 year old son) decided to make the change from the UK to Portugal, to enjoy the warmer weather all year round. We set up Raven Surf School in the Algarve, Portugal.
What do you love about being an ASI surf instructor?
“Sharing my surfing knowledge and experience.
Seeing people stoked when they achieve. Seeing people enjoying the buzz of surfing whatever their surfing level.
Working on the beach and being in nature (far out!:)) and it keeps you fit.”
How has COVID and related restrictions changed how you operate?
“It's really hit us really financially, but we are hanging in there for now.”
Can you tell us about any memorable or positive stories that have happened whilst instructing?
“You can experience a real warmth from people when they achieve their goals and get stoked! Something I am sure that you don't get in every job.
Of course there is a flip side to that, Yin and Yang:)”
Thanks so much for taking the time to give us some insight into your surfing world and recent experiences, Mike. We wish you all the positivity waves in the world as you ride into 2021, hopefully, COVID free!
Find out more about Raven Surf School in Portugal.
If you fancy becoming an ASI surf instructor like Mike then click here to find out how to get started and make your dream job a reality!
ASI is a professional membership and training organisation and international governing body for instructors, coaches and schools in the outdoor recreation industry for surfing, stand up paddle and bodyboarding.