Employee of the Month: Luca Loubet of Alaïa Bay
Luca Loubet studied water sports management at the University of Montpellier. The fickle swell patterns and six-month-long flat spells of the Mediterranean stoked his interest in wave pools. Luca wrote his final thesis on Wavegarden, eying an exit to a career as a surf coach. A combination of drive and luck landed him a job at Adventure Parc Snowdonia as a surf instructor and Lifeguard. He’s parlayed that into a gig at Alaïa Bay and now has enviable (or unenviable depending on how you look at it) task of coaching levels from absolute beginner to average bro testing out Beast Mode. It’s the challenge of this incredibly diverse range of abilities that keeps coaching challenging.
What’s a typical day like at Alaïa Bay?
As a surf coach, we coach and host all surf levels. We also lifeguard, run the surf school, launch waves, rent equipment and take care of customers. This means that each day looks different depending on the schedule. This makes the job interesting.
What do you do as a surf coach at Alaïa Bay?
We have sessions from beginner level up to Beast Mode, and between those, we have six levels. The only session with proper dry training is the beginner lesson. We start 45 minutes before going down into the water to prepare the equipment that fits each client. And we instruct them on how to stay safe and have the best experience. The next session-level is Waikiki, which is still for those who are not experienced surfers. We ensure that they choose the best equipment for their level and remind them of the basics with a short dry training period as well as coaching in the water. At this level, we always have two coaches in the water to make sure that students can get feedback and also to make them feel safe and confident. For all the other levels above Waikiki, we give a 15-minute safety briefing before the session to remind guests about the rules while surfing in the water – it’s called the do’s and dont’s. As a host in the water, my goal is to ensure that everyone is happy and catching as many waves as possible. If clients want a few tips, I am happy to help.
Did you know about the wave pool before you got this job?
I did, actually. Since a few years back I have focused on this fast-growing wave pool market. In 2015, I was at university studying water sports management, and I wrote my final thesis about Wavegarden. That was just the beginning of this industry and my passion for it has only grown. Right after my studies, I got my surf coach certification, and I went to travel the world with one goal only: to get surf experience to develop in the business. I have been working as a surf coach and running different surf schools across the world. In 2019 I finally took a step forward in the wave pool industry as a surf coach at Adventure Parc Snowdonia. Furthermore, with my studies and working experience, I got hired at Alaïa Bay before the opening in March 2021, which makes me one of the lucky ones who was able to enjoy these amazing waves surrounded by the Alps.
What is the hardest thing about this job and what is the best thing about this job?
The hardest part goes hand-in-hand with the best part of the job. The best part is seeing all the happy faces enjoying what we are offering them. In the peak season, we can reach a few hundred clients a day, which is amazing. As a surf coach, you must be focused to deliver personal feedback and advice to everyone. It makes it intense and can be one of the hardest parts of the job, as well as the best part. It’s a big team and we work closely together, like a family. We are together in the good moments as well as the bad ones. We are happy to meet up after work to share the stoke.