• Team OTC

Meet the Team: Joe North

Updated: Feb 14

Meet the team behind the OTC - the talented group of individuals that keep the brand afloat with energy, enthusiasm and passion. You will always get a warm welcome at The OTC, where the atmosphere is all about progression for watersport enthusiasts, from beginners to those more advanced. The team are always happy to help and will give advice on anything from how to rig a sail through to which gear would suit you best.

First in the hot-seat is Chief Instructor Joe North. A laid back sort, easy on the eye for the OTC's fairer visitors, whose passion for passing on his knowledge onto the budding young windsurfers gives him the biggest buzz, whilst his skills as a qualified sparky, not to mention his 'wombling' ability to up-cycle wooden crates into really useful inventions, makes him a true asset in more ways than many realise.


Joe said: “I started windsurfing because my dad had some kit in his garage. When was 17 I chucked it on top of the car and drove down to Portland Harbour, and proceeded to make every kind of mistake going! From there I carried it on as a hobby, then in my mid-twenties I decided to become a sailing instructor.

“The week after my sailing course at Rockley I did a windsurfing instructor course, followed by a season as a sailing instructor at Sail Laser, who were the sailing partners of The National Sailing Academy at the time. Located at the same location as The OTC, I got to know Tris and asked if I could help out at The OTC. I came in to cover for Maurin for a month and the rest, as they say, is history!


“My watersports journey started when I was a teenager when I realised I loved to surf. Even now, I pretty much do that most summers. Whenever I can surf, I will!

“My motivation is the people around me; everybody that comes down to The OTC. We're lucky enough to be surrounded by some really good sailors, but also people that simply want to get out there and have fun. I’m pretty motivated to try anything new that comes onto the scene. We are all having the same kind of experience, just on different equipment.

“It is great to see the young people enjoying and progressing in windsurfing; I get a really big buzz out of teaching people. It is great to see them experiencing the same feeling I have, and getting the same rewards for the time they put in.

“What inspires me is the guys that push the sport - I really appreciate where they are taking it. Having someone like Ross Williams visit regularly, who's right up there in his sports, yet remains humble and down to earth. I take a lot of inspiration from that.

The best part of working at The OTC? It's an awesome place to work! The people I work with, the atmosphere, the environment, the opportunities, the variation, the water time and the attitude."

“I hold an Advanced Plus Windsurfing Instructor qualification, Advanced Foiling Instructor and I am a Kitesurf Instructor. My favourite watersport? I like to mix it up as much as possible; I don’t have a favourite. Currently I’m using Neil Pryde wave sails and a mid-90L Tabou wave board, which is sick. This is what I prefer this year.


“My best memories of working at The OTC involve getting the kids involved; the schools, any level, any young people. A typical day for me, for example, on a busy weekend I could be running a group of customers, from beginner to advanced. I will get to the centre, check the forecast, work out a plan, introduce myself, brief them, help organise and setup kit. I could be on the water with them, or in safety boat; I may take video and then video debrief afterwards.

“The biggest skill I bring to the team is my humour! I am all right at doing the water stuff and I like to get creative, with maintenance and crazy inventions. The atmosphere makes The OTC a great place to work. The future for me is with The OTC. I really enjoy teaching big groups with the other instructors, and then there's the added perk of those sneaky little sessions.


“Tris has taught me a lot. He inspires me with his attitude and work ethic, and he is an all-round pretty good chap. He has taught me to rise up and further myself, compared to where I was.”

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 The Official Test Centre is a watersports school, retailer and test centre located right on the water’s edge, within the grounds of the National Sailing Academy on Portland, Dorset.

 

Due to our location, we are in the perfect place to get out on the latest kit and give it a go. On this blog we share our thoughts with you. And having tested for magazines for over two decades, we love to put the kit through its paces.