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WORKING LIFE ‌ Ryan Coker

Sales associate at McKevlin's Surf Shop and surf instructor

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"I've been working at the shop for a year and a half, since I moved back from Hawaii. I'm originally from Clemson. Tiger pride, baby! I needed a job and I was tired of food and beverage. I've been a busboy, waiter, and expediter. I was tired of kissing ass for my money. I enjoy surfing. That's why I went to Hawaii in the first place, and I thought it would be fun. They needed some people and my friend put in a good word.

"I just started doing the instructing this past season. Working at the shop, we have the opportunity to do that. At first, I thought it would be too much trouble. But I realized that you get to make kids stoked about something you're already excited about, so, it's really cool.

"I give hour-long lessons. I cover all the basics, all the fundamentals. Half the time is spent on the sand, and the other half is in the water trying to catch waves. I explain that here at Folly we have a beach break, and we get waves based on wind swell and where the sand has shifted. We go over etiquette, too. Believe it or not, there is surf etiquette. You have to make sure not to drop in on someone. That's where some of the animosity comes from.

"We don't do lessons through the shop for liability purposes, but we have business cards that we hand out if people ask about it. There are about four instructors in the shop. If you're under 18, you have to have a parent or guardian sign a waiver. Like, if there were a shark bite or something like that.

"I schedule lessons on the days that I'm off. I make my own calendar. $40 an hour includes the board, and sometimes we cut groups a deal. But it's a lot harder to teach five people than in a one-on-one situation.

"I've been surfing since I came to the College, so about five years. I think I might stay in Folly for awhile. I'm trying to put my degree to use, sending resumes out. I'd like to stay at the shop as long as possible, but I'll probably be doing surf lessons longer than I'll be at the shop." —as told to Anna Claire Hodge

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