Nette Klement | Surf / Skate Coach & Destination Manager
What is your role in the Salty Souls Experience?
I wear many hats! I am your surf and surfskate coach in El Salvador & Ecuador, as well as the destination manager — which is about taking care of the on-ground logistic for you to have a seamless experience where everything happens magically ;).
Surfing may seem intuitive, but it’s not! My mission? To be the surf coach I wished I had when I started. I’ll arm you with the practical and theoretical know-how to keep riding those waves long after you leave our camp. Let’s take your surfing from zero to hero!
What’s your background and how did you acquire those skills?
Once upon a time, I had big dreams of becoming a teacher, but I wasn’t sure what kind. After high school, unsure what I wanted to study, I became a snowboarding instruction in Austria and which confirmed me how much I loved teaching. Then came the surfing bug, and I knew I had to master it to become a surf instructor too. So, I made the ocean my home, doing odd jobs (from cleaning, to cooking, to organizing) at surf camps and hostels just to be close to the waves.
Sure, my surfing journey was a comedy of errors—epic wipeouts and moments when I wanted to sell my board and quit. But hey, I didn’t give up! I’m very grateful that surfing came in my life and that my enchantment took me where I am today. Eventually, I became a surf instructor in Europe (Netherlands, Spain, France, Portugal) and have done several courses (ISA 2, Map Tecnica, PowerSurf) to solidify my teaching.
While learning to surf I discovered Surf Skating and became obsessed with it! I would watch videos and practice for hours and hours, it was so addictive I wanted everybody to try it too! First I started teaching my friends, but soon after we brought to the retreats and it grew into something bigger!
Life’s a wild ride, and I’m just riding the waves (and streets) with a grin! 🏄♂️🛹
Biggest challenge within the Salty Souls Experience?
As a surf coach I find it a real challenge to not be upset when conditions aren’t great. With surfing you’re always depending on the waves and the weather. Of course we will try and pick the best moments to go surfing, but unfortunately we can’t change conditions.
Ninja super skill people don’t know you possess?
I’m not sure we could call this a ‘skill’, but people are always surprised by how long I can be out in the water surfing without having a break. When the waves are good, it’s like my body doesn’t need anything else than salty water, I will always be saying: ‘one more’, while hours are passing by.
Favorite place in the world?
I fall in love with places easily. Everywhere I go I’ll find the good things about it, which always makes it hard for me to leave.
But at this moment the place that really stole my heart is El Salvador. I’ve been living here for a couple years now, and every time I leave and come back, I feel like I’m coming home.
What gets you the most excited in life?
Sunsets! It doesn’t matter where, how, with who, but seeing the sun go down, always makes me feel thankful for another beautiful (or not so great) day, it stops the time for a bit, stops my thoughts, it makes me feel alive.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
When you would ask my mom, she would probably say that going on my own, as a 18-year-old blond girl, to South America without any plan, saying I just wanted to go surfing and learn Spanish, was the craziest thing I’ve done.
And if you ask me, it might just be: chasing my dream of building a life around surfing. Being from the country side in the Netherlands, I don’t think anybody believed that that was possible. Everybody thought I was crazy and would ask me “When are you gonna start taking life serious? Go to university? Find a serious job?”. But I kept believing I could, and so I did :).