Driven by passion, many are opting for a unique, out of the box career options. Adventure sports is one such choice that may finds many takers, says Gauri Rane
Do you like to summit the mountains or ski down their slopes? Does an activity like jumping off a bridge thousand feet down and then being propelled up by a rope tied to your feet provide you with a rush of adrenalin and an element of danger? Do you also want to rid others of their fear of heights, water, etc? If yes, then you can actually make ‘adventure sports’ a full-fledged profession. “To make a career in adventure sports, one requires passion,” says Kavita Reddy, founder director, Basecamp Adventure, Bangalore.
Reddy started out as an adventure sports enthusiast after giving up a corporate job of 14 years. “The realisation that I wanted to free myself from my air conditioned corporate office and live a life one with nature dawned while I was on a trekking expedition,” says Reddy. Post which, she pursued a basic and advance course in mountaineering and rock climbing before setting up her own venture.
Apart from passion, aspirants wanting to pursue this career need to be thorough with the practicality of the field. Unlike a blanket career, adventure sports involve a lot of hard work. Those taking up the profession have to undergo a lifestyle change. “It is not like a cushioned corporate job with a nine to five routine,” explains Reddy. Ranjeet Singh, instructor, National Institute of Waterports, Goa agrees. “One has to devote a lot of time in understanding the field. In water sports it is important to be able to read the wind and water current. And this requires spending time training in the sea.”
However, you also need to possess certain other qualifications as well, suggest experts. You got to know basics of tour management, photography, and first aid techniques. These are an add on and allow you to enhance your work area. Reddy suggests, “Knowing first aid techniques is very important. These skills come handy especially when you are stranded on a mountain peak, thousand kilometers away from civilization.”
Anyone wanting to take up adventure sports as a career should undergo at least a year’s training says Reddy. Training is of a long duration and is not easy either. You got to complete courses that last 28 to 30 days. Also, you cannot start the next course immediately after you complete the previous one. There has to be a break between courses. “In case of mountaineering for instance, after course completion, aspirants will have to go on expeditions, participate in trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering activities to gain confidence,” Reddy says.
And what are the job prospects? “There is a need for qualified people as several organisations hire professionally trained staff for adventure tours or mountaineering expeditions,” informs Reddy. The duration of employment may differ from six months to a year. It may be either on freelancing or permanent basis. “Opportunities may come through private organisations offering water sports entertainment,” informs Singh. Aspirants can be guides, research specialists, outdoor specialists, and tour leaders.
Prospective candidates should however be careful before joining any organisation. “There are many fly by night operators and there is no regulatory body to crosscheck claims of these institutions,” informs Reddy. Not all courses have standard certification, so aspirants need ensure that they are not taken advantage of.
Adventure sports is a vibrant field brimming with opportunities. Those who are willing to walk this less travelled path, should be prepared for some hard work that brings along adrenaline rush.