Live to teach: the life of windsurf instructor Deborah Müller

This year in Tenerife we met an inspiring, talented and young woman who dedicate her life to what she loves most: windsurfing and teaching. At the age of 16 she started to work in windsurf schools and soon she travelled the world and lived her dream. As being one of the few women who took this career path we thought it would be very interesting to hear about her story and maybe inspire some of you who think about going the same way. 

1.) How did you get into windsurfing?

In 2010 my parents and I made holidays in Büsum at the North Sea. 

At this time, I only wanted to learn the normal surfing - unfortunately you couldn't do that in Büsum. 

The surf school in Büsum persuaded me to take a windsurfing course. Reluctantly, I tried it out and I was directly infected with the windsurfing virus. 

From that day on I was windsurfing every day until the vacation was over. 

The year after, I convinced my parents to go on another vacation in Büsum with me, because I wanted to go windsurfing again. Two years later I came back to Büsum with my own material, a 120 l Fanatic Shark and a 4.5 North Ego. 

With that material I learned a lot, going into the harness, planing and to do a waterstart.

During my very first holiday at the surf school they already asked me when I would turn 16, because I would be a good fit for the team.

At the age of 16 I spent my whole summer holidays working at the surf school. I got my water sports assistant licence there and prepared myself for the windsurf instructor course.

2.) You are working full - time as windsurf instructor. What was your main motivation to choose that way for yourself?

Since the age of sixteen I always spent my whole summer holiday working at the surf school.

 I gained a lot of experience how life is in that business. After I graduated from school, I worked as a full-time instructor at the surf school for two months, before my vocational training at a bank began. Even during my vocational training, I still spent all my holidays and a lot of long weekends close to the sea to follow my passion - windsurfing. The job as a windsurf instructor was always in the back of my mind. After my vocational training ended, I had to make a difficult decision.

Should I take the safe job or explore the world as a windsurf instructor? 

I let my heart decide and my choice fell on latter.

3.) For how long are you already working as an instructor?

In 2013 I started working at the surf school. 2014 I made my Watersport assistant. I became a windsurf instructor in 2016 and 2019 I became a Stand Up Paddling Instructor. I also made a further education as a center manager in 2019 and I am supervisor, which means that I am also allowed to teach new instructors how to teach.

4.) What do you like the most about your job?

I like it a lot to meet and to work with many different people. I love it to share my passion with the people of any age, children, adults and elderly people alike. To live and work closely by the sea wherever I want means a lot of freedom for me. To travel so much and to make so many experiences is unique.

5.) Would you recommend this kind of job to other girls who are into windsurfing?

I would always recommend this job to other girls. Follow your heart, because later in life you most likely will spend a lot of time in an office. Also, there not nearly enough girls in this business.

Of course, it’s not always easy. You must always look for your job opportunities and for the money, but if you are a good organizer it’s not really a problem. 

So, try it out and follow your dreams!!

6.) What is the process of becoming licensed windsurf instructor?

The Instructor course:

Requirements: getting started, tack, jibe, safe handling, windward tacking

Practical exam 1:

40m wind abeam and trough two buoy gates (wavy lines, clew first, leerte, helicopter, fin first)

4 out of 5 must be passed, in 8 to 25kn.

Practical examination 2:

Demonstration of the beginner techniques (getting started, body position on the board, going upwind and downwind, tack, jibe and windward tacking)

Teaching ability:

Show your skills with real students and combine your skills with theoretical knowledge.


The written exam over 90 minutes on the following topics (introduction to course planning, watersport methods, school and course organization, emergency situations, safety, animation and basics in physic).

Other requirements you need:

- Proof of ability to drive a motorboat for rescue purposes (VDWS form)

- First-aid certificate (maximum 2 years old, 9 lessons)

- Swimming certificate (VDWS-Rescue-Licence or German DLRG-Bronze or equivalent)

- Application for VDWS admission

- 18 years old

After the instructor course you must start your internship at a VDWS recognized watersportschool. You need a minimum of 21 days for the 100 working hours.

For collecting the requirements and for doing the internship you have a maximum of two years.

If you fulfill all these tasks, you get your instructor card. With that qualification you can teach, exam and issue the contents of the VDWS windsurfing basic license. The license must ne renewed every three years.

The course takes 8 days and costs 570€.

You get all the information and you can register here:

7.) Which place did you like to to work the most and why?

I don´t really have a favourite place to work as every place I have been had its perks, but if I had to decide, I would choose the Abu Soma Bay in Egypt. 

There you have a well-organized windsurf center, the small lagoon in front and when you walk over the sandbank you have deeper water between to sandbanks. Another good point is that there is always wind and the water is pleasantly warm – so you don’t really need a wetsuit and you have shallow water.

all photos and rights: Deborah Müller

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