Surf instructor Candy Tomkins originally studied graphic design at university but fell in love with the sea and turned her hobby into a full-time job. Here she talks about her love of surfing and her favourite waves from around the world.
Whatâ€™s your name and occupation?
Candice Tomkins, surf instructor.
Whatâ€™s your passion?
How long have you been involved in the surfing community?
Iâ€™ve been surfing around ten years now.
How did you first discover surfing and what made you love it so much?
I had a few lessons at Fistral Beach in Newquay, which is a great place to learn. I have always loved the water and wanted a new challenge. Like most people I was hooked after the first 20 minutes in the ocean!
I love being in the great outdoors and thereâ€™s something about being in open water that is refreshing and revitalising. I always feel better after I have been surfing than before I went in. Itâ€™s also a great way to keep fit without it feeling like you are doing exercise.
You went from a surfer to a surfing teacher â€“ how did this come about and how long did it take you to train?
Before becoming a surf instructor I gained my NaRS Beach Lifeguard award, which takes six days providing you have a bit of previous open water experience. I worked for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as a lifeguard for my first four years in Cornwall. Once you have your beach lifeguard qualification you will need to do a two-day ISA surf coach award and then 20 hours of guided instruction with a senior coach. With these two qualifications you are able to start working for a surf school delivering surfing lessons for your job.
I started work with Ben Ridding from Surfing is Therapy in Newquay where we are lucky to have fantastic facilities right on the famous Fistral Beach. What I most enjoy is meeting different people and introducing them to the sport of surfing. I still have yet to teach someone who didnâ€™t come out of the water beaming from ear to ear and this is my favourite thing about teaching surfing!
What great experiences have you had through your hobby/work?
I usually spend a couple of months every winter in warmer climates and since discovering my love for surfing it means I always choose destinations with waves.
As Newquay is a seasonal town many people work hard in the summer and take a bit of time off in the winter. Iâ€™m lucky that I also get to do something I love for a job so I can surf year round.
Where are some of the most exotic locations youâ€™ve gone to?
I have been traveling every winter for the last five years and some of the most exotic places I have been too include Hawaii, Fiji, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. My favourite spot has to be Lakeyâ€™s in Sumbawa, Indonesia: this is the location of my favourite wave I have surfed so far! Thereâ€™s still a lot left on my travel bucket list though.
What top tips would you give to anyone whoâ€™d like to give surfing a try?
Its not as scary as it looks and easy to pick up with a few basic beginner skills. I urge everyone to give surfing a go. No matter what age, kids, mums, dads and grandparents too. The sea is a therapeutic place and surfing is a great stress reliever as well as a new fun challenge.
Surfing is Therapy is based on Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, right next door to the beautiful Headland Hotel. It provides surf lessons, coasteering adventures and family activities. Prices start at Â£40.