27 March 2012

Career breakers on a boat (image: Coral Cay)


Learning adventure sports is a great way to spend your career break. There are lots of courses available for both beginners and experienced sports people.

Most course providers on this site provide instructor training as well. This usually results in an internationally-recognised instructor certificate, which enables you to get paid work as a sports instructor around the world.


Woman scuba diving (image: PADI)

What are adventure sports?

Adventure sports covers a wide range of activities. Some of the most popular include:

  • Surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Kite surfing
  • Scuba diving
  • Water skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Climbing
  • White water rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Sailing

Course fees usually cover all tuition and equipment hire. If you're doing a course abroad, they also generally cover accommodation and most or all of your food, plus a few extra things like airport transfers. Because of the nature of these sports, you will usually benefit from being taught in a small group, which gives you lots of one-to-one training with the instructor. This not only means you learn faster, it's a great way of developing confidence.

You can also do adventure sports as a volunteer - for example, coaching children, or scuba diving to carry out marine research.


Career breakers teaching kids rock-climbing (image: PGL)


Where can I do adventure sports?

It depends on what sort of sports you fancy doing. Many of the popular ones are water-based and tend to take in coastal areas (although large lakes are also used for some water sports). Ocean sports are often in tropical climates.

Obviously, skiing and snowboarding tend to take place in cold places with lots of mountains (we have separate posts on ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor courses).

If you're not sure about going abroad to spend a week learning your chosen sport, you can often do a taster course here in the UK for a day or two. There are also full courses you can do in the UK, particularly for sailing.


Group of skiiers and snowboarders (image: International Academy)


When should I do adventure sports?

For winter sports, obviously in the winter (or summer if you're going to the southern hemisphere as their seasons are the other way round).

Other sports can usually be done any time of year. If you're doing a course (a taster course or the whole thing) here in the UK, summer is often a more popular choice if you're going to be outside a lot.

Ocean sports (surfing, diving, wakeboarding etc) can also be done at most times of year if you do your course in the tropics.


Top adventure sports tips

  • It's vital to check your insurance to make sure it covers you for whatever sport you are doing.
  • If you are doing an instructor course, check what certificate you will receive, and what this enables you to teach.
  • Also, find out from other instructors where to find work, how to sort out a work permit, etc (your course provider should also be able to help you with this).
  • Don't be afraid to go it alone. The nature of adventure sports courses means you'll meet people and make lots of friends very quickly - not only on the course itself, but also in and around the place you're staying.
  • Know that most courses cater for complete beginners, so you won't be out of your depth. Many beginners courses are very short, and you can often opt to go onto a more advanced course right away if you feel it's for you.


Further information on adventure sports

Search for a career break involving adventure sports or order information and brochures if you're short of time.


Career breakers on motorbikes and quad bikes (image: Real Gap)