Matt Le Clercq
|School||De La Salle College|
|Born||8th May 1985|
|First job||Diving instructor|
|Book||Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway|
|Not many people know..||I used to have two Egyptian cats named Dizzee and Rascal|
|Film||The Big Blue|
|Gadget||Pretty much constantly on my iPhone|
|Last holiday||My life’s a holiday!|
So tell us, what inspired you to get this off the ground?
I’d been scuba diving for so many years but wanted to push myself further and explore my limits. Technical diving is not only expensive but also involves clunky equipment and doesn’t feel as natural. Competition seemed the best way to realise this and as scuba doesn’t have a competitive aspect, freediving was the only way forward. There also isn’t anyone else teaching freedive in Jersey and I’m keen for more people to get involved, which is what led me to qualifying as an AIDA (Association Internationale pour le Development de l’Apnée – www.aidainternational.org) instructor.
What did you do prior to starting this business?
I’ve lived in Egypt for 5 or so years teaching scuba as well as working in videography and photography, mostly in Dahab and Sharm El Sheikh. I’ve also been involved in underwater videography and photography and the lack of bubbles when freediving compared to scuba is an obvious bonus when it comes to getting still, clear shots and not scaring away the marine life. I’ve also previously taught scuba over here in Jersey.
Did that teach you any lessons that helped you succeed?
Living in Egypt has given me the patience of a saint! I’d definitely say it’s developed my people skills, so don’t be scared if you’d like to give freediving a go but have never done any diving before.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learnt since starting the business?
The business is still only getting off the ground with courses due to start this June and run through until August so I’m sure I’ve still got a lot to learn.
Have you got any funny stories?
I’m famous! If you’ve not heard of the Tank Bangers, look them up. We have a lot of fun promoting environmental protection in a lighthearted way, getting both young and old involved worldwide raising money without the drudgery of bucket shaking. Together with people in Malaysia, Thailand, Tenerife, Egypt and England to name but a few places, we write and perform songs about the sea, direct, film and edit amusing videos and do talks – look out for us at the London Dive Show on the 31st March and 1st April at the ExCeL Centre. If you search ‘our blue’ by the Tank Bangers on YouTube you’ll see me at 1min 25sec.
What advice would you give to would-be entrepreneurs?
Ask me at the end of the summer! Seriously though, never stop trying. If you love something and can use it to help make a living from sharing it with other people then keep at it!