By Thomas Loft, Danish National Water-ski Team, 2017.
See the photo gallery further down.
The Australian summer is quite unique, especially in the south-eastern part of Queensland, where I’ve been so lucky to have gotten the chance to spend the past two Australian summers. In many ways summer goes all year round in the little surfer town called Coolum Beach where I´m working and living, but around this time of year the humidity and heat can be close to unbearable.
My name is Thomas Loft and I am part of the Danish national water-ski team. Water-skiing has taken me all over the world to tons of stunning and exiting places, however, it wasn’t until I graduated high school a year and a half ago that I got the chance to go to Australia. The Danish winter months can be cold, cruel and almost depressing, so when I no longer had school anchoring me down to stay in Denmark during the winter I had my mind set at going somewhere warm, where it would be summer and where I could practice my water-skiing no matter the season. I therefor looked on Google for an open position as a water-ski coach in Australia and already by the first link I was sold: A website for a water-ski place in Coolum Beach an hour north of Brisbane on the sunshine coast just 5 minutes from the beach. From then it didn´t take me long to send a few emails, make a call, of which I didn’t understand much as cause of their heavy Australian accent, and ultimately secure the job.
I got myself the plane tickets and 38 hours, 3 planes, a ton of coffee and innumerable bags of airplane peanuts later I found myself in the middle of what – in my mind – is a stereotypical Australian bush landscape. When I first got here it didn’t take long for me to adopt the very laid back, easy-going lifestyle that the Australian people are famous for. The town is a classic surfer town where it’s considered normal to get up at 4.00 am when the sun rises to go surfing and where no one would look twice if you went grocery shopping in nothing but a pair of board shorts or a bikini.
My week here consists of working 5 days a week from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm teaching water-ski to anyone from beginners to experts to pro water skiers. It’s always a pleasure to work in a field where the people you meet are happy and positive as it can´t help but affect oneself, and as it makes the work never really feel like actual work. This year I’m working with two British guys who like me have a passion for water-skiing and last year it was two Australians, whom I´ve made great friends with and enjoy sharing these unique experiences with.
Working for an extended period of time in a foreign country gives one a feeling of being a local, rather than just being a tourist passing through, which in my opinion is the best way to experience a new culture and see what a new country has to offer. I have almost exclusively met friendly and down-to-earth people here, which is the main reason why I chose to come back for another season. I’ve travelled all over the east coast of Australia with the friends, whom I´ve made while being here when I’ve had time off from work and gotten to hang around and see the local area on the days I’ve been working. And even though the days here can be long, hot and humid, I get an exceptional opportunity to experience a new culture and work with the thing that I love doing, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else during my gap years.