Watersports team

Meet our watersports team

Welcome to UKSA’s watersports team, made up of a diverse bunch of people with a common love of watersports!

A profile photo of Watersports manager Gary Kurth

Gary Kurth

Watersports Manager

Originally from the Southern Hemisphere, Gary spent several years travelling and working in exotic locations. 15 years ago he relocated to the Island and joined UKSA to continue his passion for all things water and wind-related. During his time here, Gary has been involved in the inclusion of Youth Development Programs, Further Education Curriculum development and the rapidly-expanding Watersports Department. He is keen to ensure that every student has amazing experiences on the water and benefits from the opportunities UKSA offers.

Gary is proud to be a part of the once-in-a-lifetime experience that UKSA gives students, and works hard to provide that experience in a way that ensures safety and security. He believes that being part of a great watersports team makes this achievable and incredibly rewarding.

“Every day I put myself in a child’s shoes and see the world from their viewpoint.”

Profile photo of Katie Lewis

Katie Lewis

Chief Watersports Instructor

In 2006 Katie was a Nanny at Neilson. Her boss would send her to the beach front to help the instructors which made her really happy; this is when she learned to sail. She became an Apprentice Instructor and qualified as an Instructor in 2007. In 2008 she became a Windsurf Instructor and in 2012, a Senior Instructor. She went on to be a Beach Manager and then managed activities including biking, tennis, fitness, sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing.

Katie loves teaching because she enjoys seeing students become really passionate about the new sports they’ve been learning. In her management role she loves working with the staff, monitoring their progress and helping them become amazing employees. Katie believes that UKSA is the perfect place to work because she can do what she loves while continuing to sail and windsurf.

For big groups Katie’s teaching style is fun and bubbly, but she’s also happy to boost confidence and instil a ‘can do’ attitude into individuals.

“I love having rapport with the students and knowing I’ve given them new experiences and memories that will last forever.”

Lead Watersports Instructor Oliver Clare

Oliver Clare

Lead Watersports Instructor

Having trained with UKSA in 2002, Oliver worked in the UK and abroad for ten years in the watersports industry. In 2012 he returned to join UKSA’s Lead Watersports Team and says it felt like coming home. His job is to ensure that students have exceptional experiences on the water.

“Helping others gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing, knowing I’ve had an influence on the lives of those I’ve taught over the years.”

Watersports Instructor Phil

Phil Clarke

Lead Watersports Instructor

Phil began sailing aged three. He came to UKSA after completing a BTEC in Outdoor Adventures at Shuttleworth College and has been at UKSA for four years. His first role was as a Watersports Instructor teaching dinghy and kayak – since being here he’s taken other courses and gained further qualifications. He’s currently working towards his Advance Windsurf qualification.

Phil enjoys the buzz at UKSA; he thinks the atmosphere’s fantastic. As Lead Instructor it’s important that he always considers environment, location and type of group, but he’s free to plan and run the sessions his own way.

His teaching style is fun and energetic. He loves to use props such as puppets and balloons with faces on. He believes the best thing about teaching is that you make a real difference every day.

“Being able to teach simple things to a nervous child and then see a big smile is the best thing. After gaining their trust you become their hero!”

Watersports Instructor Harvey

Harvey Thompson

Seasonal Watersports Instructor

Harvey had been a lifeguard and was studying Public Services at college in Birmingham when he visited UKSA for a week’s trip. At an Open Day in 2017 he signed up to the Watersports Instructor Programme After graduating he stayed on as an Instructor. In the future he’d like to work abroad for a few seasons and then come back to UKSA to do a Professional Yachtmaster Course.

When Harvey teaches, he’s always the first one to jump in! He loves to sing and dance, which he believes instils confidence in kids by making them laugh.

“It really is the best job in the world!”

Watersports instructor team member

Katarzyna Borkiewicz

Watersports Instructor (First Season)

Kat’s a local – she came to UKSA from school and joined the BTEC course in 2018. She’s now in her final year of the course.

Last year Kat did a season as an activity leader and loved it. She says she enjoys working at UKSA because every day is different and there’s always something fun to do. She also takes advantage of our fantastic learning opportunities.

When she teaches, Kat likes to build trust slowly with the students, showing them that water-based activities are fun and will help to boost their confidence.

“One of my favourite things is to see a shy kid smile.”

Ben-Willows-thumb

#SeaChangeStories

I continue to be inspired by our students, some of whom have come from challenging backgrounds, and we have seen them turn their lives around and leave UKSA with new work and life skills that will set them up for a long-term career in the maritime industry.

It is a good reminder for us all that with the right encouragement and training, anyone can begin a new chapter and look ahead to a rewarding, long-term career.

Ben Willows – UKSA Chief Executive

Read more