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Thursday 26 February 2015

Watersports graduate rescues honeymooning Olympic sailor

The media recently reported on the rescue of Olympic sailor and honorary graduate of Southampton Solent University Sir Ben Ainslie, and his new wife Georgie.

The pair were rescued by the Necker Island team when their boat ran into trouble during their honeymoon. Included in the team racing to their aid was another Solent alumnus, watersports coaching and management graduate, Adam Chubbock.

Adam Chubbock and team with Sir Ben Ainslie and Richard Branson

Adam, who graduated in 2013, spends his winters at Necker Island (British Virgin Islands) as a watersports instructor and summer as an operations manager for Flying Fish Greece.

If Adam could go on a boating trip with three people they would be Nelson Mandela, Mickey Flannigan and Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses

We asked him how he felt about the rescue: “It was probably the most surreal experience of my life, although really easy, as Ben and Georgie are such lovely chilled people. Ben kept a real cool head through the whole thing, showing his professionalism. The best thing was that I got to hang out with them on Necker for the next two days and teach them to wakeboard and wake surf.”

Spending time with the couple after the rescue

When asking Adam what a normal day looked like for him he said:

“There is no such thing. I get up and look at the view, have breakfast, walk down the hill and catch the boat to the island. Then I meet my friends and walk past the parrots, lemurs and tortoises to the water sports centre, where we get a briefing for the day to say who’s on the island and what they want to do.

“This could be anything from sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kitesurfing to wakeboarding, diving or rib driving. The days are long and full of surprises. After work, we usually go for a beer in the hot tub, then for some food and maybe a few rum punches before we go to bed and then wake up the next morning to do it all over again.”

Three items Adam would take to a desert island:- A knife, a fire stick… and a boat

Adam’s water sports skills have not just got him a career spanning six countries and the envy of any sea lover, one of his biggest achievement is paddle boarding across Scotland – 92km from coast to coast in 12.37 hours for charity.

“We started in the snow at 2am but had some amazing scenery on the way (when I remembered to look up!)  We were the first seven people to paddleboard it in one go and I raised £1800 for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.”

Fundraising for the Royal National Institute of Blind People

After being amazed by the experiences Adam has, it’s surprising to hear that the biggest challenge facing the industry is the lack of qualified staff. Adam commented:

“I think it’s such a shame when I see people dropping out to get a ‘real job’ because there is pressure on them – or more to the point – not going into it at all because they think it’s not a career! I know the industry is not highly paid, but there are so many other perks, you will have some amazing experiences and who knows where it may lead you?”

Fundraising for RNIB

Looking back at his time at Solent, we asked Adam what his favourite University memory was. He answered:

“Setting up the Solent Windsurf Team, winning BUCS Gold and getting Sport Solent Team of the year and obviously all the fun that went with that along the way.”

The most important advice Adam learnt at university was ‘Get stuck in! Hard work pays off. Knowledge is power. In a time of crisis, a good friend said to me “work hard, you won’t regret it” and he was right. (Sam Sills Team GBR Windsurfer).’

So with a successful watersports career, famous rescues and paddle boarding adventures to his name, we asked Adam what advice he would give to current students:

“Life is what you make it, you can get anywhere you want to. Believe in yourself, dream big and never give up. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”

In the future, Adam would like to hit the waves as much as possible and sail some oceans

Adam would like to say a massive thanks to his sponsors: Starboard UK,, and

Visit Adam online at, or connect with him on Twitter at @achubbock.