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Why travelling surfer swapped boardies for a suit and tie

Why travelling surfer swapped boardies for a suit

Article from Sunshine Coast Daily Written by Bill Hoffman 25th January 2018


As a surfer why would you give up a life of free boards, access to Australia's best waves, forays into the Pacific and constant travel to become a real estate agent. That's a question Jamie Willems found himself asking after 10 years developing markets in Western Australia, South Australia and from Port Macquarie north for Global Surf Industries. It took a two-month stint looking after Fiji SUP distributors Brian and Donna Macdonald's Matanivusi Resort last year to open his eyes to the pleasure of not being constantly away from wife Katherine and now two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Lexi. Jamie had taken on the GSI role in its infancy, bringing it together through travelling for 10-12 nights away from home.


The Caloundra local was running a pop-up shop last year with a container of GSI gear at Moffat Beach, selling 12-15 boards in two hours while mate Luke Carter looked on with growing certainty he wanted Jamie to be part of his team at Harcourts Caloundra. The award-winning agent and military veteran had previously urged him to consider real estate as a career choice. The pair first met at Beach Beat Caloundra eight years ago when Luke and his wife also named Katherine bought across the road from him at Moffat Beach. The Willems took the pair to Matanivusi and got them hooked on surfing. Jamie and Luke then went surfing in the Mentawis on the charter boat Pelagic last Easter and Harcourts Caloundra has now signed as major sponsor of this year's Ma and Pa Bendall Surf Classic, Australia's second-longest running professional contest. "I still loved what I was doing,” Jamie said.


But the prospect of no more travel was a lure too good to resist. "I've had a pretty good run,” he said of a job where surfing came with the territory. "Last year was a cracker. I've been spoilt but maybe it's time to buckle down. "I had 75 accounts in my portfolio and wanted to stay in sales. Real estate was a natural progression. "The surf industry has been amazing for me. I bought my first home when I was quite young, I had good advice and bought well. "Anything that makes you money you are pretty passionate about.”


That first home was bought when Jamie was just 25 years old. Twenty years later he wishes he'd had the money to buy three at the time. He said the Moffat cafe strip had changed the vibe of the whole area increasing interest froim both southerners and locals. At Wurtulla locals were upgrading ahead of an expected market spike. He said buyers were also beginning to understand they could get off the beach and on the Bruce Highway to Brisbane quicker than anywhere on the Sunshine Coast. The change of threads from board shorts to business shirt, tie and suit may well have left him feeling like a fish out of water but Jamie has taken like a duck to his new profession. "Open houses have been the best for me,” he said. Many of the people turning up have been out of the local community he's grown up in or seen in the line up at Wurtulla or Moffat Beach. "I'm enjoying being here,” Jamie said. "It's good doing it in a town where I grew up all my life and know everyone.”