AUSTRALIA. Meet Virginia Dan! An ASI SUP instructor based on the south coast of NSW. A windsurfer of many years she was introduced to SUP by a friend. Combining her love for the outdoors and on the water, she tells us how being an ASI instructor is the ideal career for her.
1. What is your background?
My father was an Australian diplomat and ambassador so I grew up in different countries around the world- Australia, India, France, Indonesia, Argentina and Chile. I’ve also lived in Italy, Spain and New Zealand. I have been windsurfing for many years. It actually helps with picking out quiet locations for beginners to learn SUPing since I have a lot of experience with varying weather conditions. I’m also a personal trainer and a qualified teacher as mentioned before. I love working outdoors and on the water with people, so being an ASI instructor is ideal.
I have a teaching degree in languages (Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Education, Sydney Uni), so I speak Spanish but very rusty with the other languages- Italian, German and French. I am also a personal trainer and windsurf instructor (Sailing Australia).
2. What got you involved in the sport?
My friend wanted to start up a watersports business and wanted to include SUPing, so he introduced me to it. We did the SUP instructor’s course together in Sydney so that we’d be qualified to teach.
3. What are you doing now?
I have been working as a SUP instructor ever since for various SUP schools. I also still do some personal training and windsurf instructing. I recently learned how to surf, which I’m really enjoying, and the south coast of NSW, where I live now, is perfect for it and for the other water sports like SUPing.
4. What do you like about being an ASI instructor?
I’m proud to be an ASI instructor since the training is professional and thorough. I also feel like a valued member of the ASI. It’s also nice that it’s an international organisation and offers opportunities to work overseas. It is rewarding to teach and to see that most people can progress and enjoy the sport.
5. Has COVID changed what you do? How?
Covid-19 has caused school groups that we get through the year to cancel their school camps, so there have been very few lessons this year.
6. Tell us about funny or interesting or nice situation that has happened to you with instructing?
Apart from adventuring and exploring locations on the SUPs, clients get to paddle over ocean creatures like sting rays and large fish which is always fascinating. On one occasion, I was paddling with a school group when a large red bellied black snake crossed our path. Luckily, it is not an aggressive species!
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