Scott Marshall on how his love of the ocean became his business. Interview: Alex Fisher Photo: Jon Spong

‘I moved to Bude in Cornwall when I was two years old.  My dad was a teacher and came here for work.  He set up a surf and kayak school and this gradually grew into the Adventure International Holiday Centre, which used to host thousands of school children every year.

I spent my childhood hanging out with him on Summerleaze beach.  It’s my favourite beach in the world.  Ever since then I have felt a need to be by the water.  I can spend a couple of days in a city, but then I have to head back to the coast.  The beach is where I feel at home.

I tried to fit into the 9 to 5, but really, it was inevitable that I would find a way to make my living from the sea.  I’ve been running my surf school for nearly 14 years now.  It was pretty slow to start, but these days we are really busy and I employ other instructors.  Obviously, we get really booked up over the summer months with families and holiday–makers, but as the wetsuits are so good now, you can surf all year round, and we have a lot of adults coming out in the autumn and spring.

I get a real buzz from teaching people how to surf.  It’s a thrill when someone gets up on their board for the first time. People often start out learning with me, then come back to Bude year after year, getting better with every visit.  It’s great to look at them and think that I was there when they started out.

When you are in the water you feel a connection to nature; you feel connected to the world. The sea rejuvenates me.  There’s a really strong community of surfers here in Bude and when the waves are good everyone hoots each other into the waves, there’s a great atmosphere out on the water. 

The sea has taught me that there are more important things than money.  I just want a simple life. I am happy just being on my board, surfing with my dog, Maggie.’

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