From Bavaria . . . to beaches and barrels

Top German skier employed as Gisborne Boardriders regional development manager.

Top German skier employed as Gisborne Boardriders regional development manager.

From the mountains of Europe to the beaches of Tairawhiti. Former champion ski racer and stock trader now Gisborne Boardriders regional developmental manager, Florian (Flo) Bub. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
Florian Bub.

How did a former top German skier and stock trader end up in Gisborne employed as Gisborne Boardriders regional development manager? Gisborne Herald reporter Jonathan Rush spent an afternoon with Florian (Flo) Bub to find out.

The small Bavarian town of Bamberg where Florian was born is literally a world away from the golden sand beaches of New Zealand’s east coast.

Growing up, Florian had adventurous parents who introduced him to skiing at the age of one.

“From an early age my dad Hannes would take me and my younger sister out all the time to do sports like skiing, windsurfing and tennis and it was clear early on that I had a natural skiing ability. Although we lived three hours away from the mountains, skiing started to become our lives.”

By age four, Florian was competing in ski events and winning against kids who lived in the mountains and had consistent access to optimum conditions for training and the family began travelling all across Europe for skiing competitions.

“My mum was in charge of all the travel and accommodation while my dad took care of all the competition itineraries. I just concentrated on training and skiing. I loved all types of competition, downhill, giant slalom, super-g, and participated in all of them but downhill and slalom were my main events.”

Success in competitions began to increase and Florian quickly climbed the rankings to eventually be placed top three in the world for his age in downhill slalom racing.

An official with the German Ski Association saw his potential and Florian was enrolled into a sports boarding school to further develop his talent until he was selected to officially represent Germany at age 15.
“At the sports boarding school the focus was skiing, skiing, skiing. There was also a lot of physical strengthening and training seven days a week. My whole life was structured and concentrated around skiing and I loved it.”

Florian continued to compete and was headed for a successful professional career until a major knee injury at 19 derailed his plans.

“During a downhill competition, I crashed badly on a turn. It was a really bad accident and the injury put me out for sometime. After I went through rehab, I tried to come back but my knee never felt stable enough to continue racing.

This was a difficult time for me as, up until then, all I had really known was skiing and now my career was over. I had to decide what was next as I would have carried on skiing if I hadn’t become injured.”

Florian decided to take some time off and go travelling before deciding on what to do next.

“Around the time of my accident, I met my future wife Simi, and we decided to travel along the coastline of Europe for three months. I also travelled to Australia for three months and just surfed, slept in my car and meet a lot of people along the way and realised I really loved this laid back lifestyle.”

Following his break, and after much deliberation, Florian began an apprenticeship he had been offered with a German bank. He soon became interested in trading and eventually moved to the trading floor where he operated as a stock trader for five years whilst completing papers in finance and management at university.

During this time, an opportunity arose to study full-time for five months at Hawaii Pacific University which Florian jumped at.

“My time in Hawaii changed the perspective I had on life in general. I realised I’d had enough of the big city and was sick of seeing concrete around me the whole time.

“The city mentality wasn’t me, the focus on cars, restaurants and expensive stuff and working all the time only to have a couple of weeks holiday a year just wasn’t me anymore. I wanted to live by the ocean and find a better work-life balance.”

A short surfing trip to New Zealand gave Florian his first taste of the East Coast lifestyle and Gisborne in particular impressed him. On his return to Germany, Florian and Simi agreed that it was time to take their next big step and apply for a visa to New Zealand.

So, after eight years as a banker and stock trader, Florian and his partner Simi, a qualified architect, decided it was time to take the risk, quit their well paying jobs and the life they’d known.

In order to realise their dream of living by the sea, they sold everything they owned and headed to New Zealand. Provided with a residence permit for a year, the couple travelled around in a camper van for a few months. Over this time, they both fell in love with the country and agreed that Gisborne was ‘their’ place.

Simi found a job with Architects 44 and Florian operated as a private stock trader. The couple found a place to live on the beach at Okitu and got married at the end of March 2018 and it was around this time that Florian saw an advertisement online for what he describes as a ‘dream job’.

“I saw the job advertised for regional development manager with Gisborne Boardriders and I thought immediately that this was for me. It was the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for surfing with my management and finance background and years in professional sports.”

President of Gisborne Boardriders, Andrew Vette said they had short-listed three candidates from local, national and international applicants for the role.

“Part of the interview process was an assignment to prepare a ‘real life’ funding application based on increasing school age participation in surfing in the region.

“Florian completed his application in 24 hours (half the time allocated) and Sport Gisborne Representatives considered his assignment in the top 5 percent of funding applications they had ever received.

“His experience with high performance coaching programmes in his time with the German National Ski Team further complemented his management skills and his astute, affable nature.”

The regional development manager role was established to lead the delivery of the Gisborne Boardriders Clubs 10 Year Vision for surfing in the region. Specifically, this role is focussed on the coordination of events, fund-raising and sponsorship, surf development, advocacy and the promotion of surfing, said Mr Vette.

“What really stood out to us was his holistic vision for the role and passion for delivering a wide range of initiatives across all demographics in the region,” he said.

Florian says that he is excited to develop all aspects of surfing in the community.
“I basically want to make surfing more accessible to those who don’t have the opportunity like kids at risk. Of course we want to promote and advance women’s surfing, rippers, high performance programs for up and comers but definitely look to involve the community more so it is not an exclusive activity only happening in the world of the Boardriders.”

Florian firmly believes he and Simi have made the best decision in relocating to Gisborne.

“We both love the Kiwi lifestyle and the mentality which most people have and we hope to stay permanently. Living and working in Gisborne is great and the community has made us feel so welcome plus my surfing is coming along quite alright, for a German guy.”

How did a former top German skier and stock trader end up in Gisborne employed as Gisborne Boardriders regional development manager? Gisborne Herald reporter Jonathan Rush spent an afternoon with Florian (Flo) Bub to find out.

The small Bavarian town of Bamberg where Florian was born is literally a world away from the golden sand beaches of New Zealand’s east coast.

Growing up, Florian had adventurous parents who introduced him to skiing at the age of one.

“From an early age my dad Hannes would take me and my younger sister out all the time to do sports like skiing, windsurfing and tennis and it was clear early on that I had a natural skiing ability. Although we lived three hours away from the mountains, skiing started to become our lives.”

By age four, Florian was competing in ski events and winning against kids who lived in the mountains and had consistent access to optimum conditions for training and the family began travelling all across Europe for skiing competitions.

“My mum was in charge of all the travel and accommodation while my dad took care of all the competition itineraries. I just concentrated on training and skiing. I loved all types of competition, downhill, giant slalom, super-g, and participated in all of them but downhill and slalom were my main events.”

Success in competitions began to increase and Florian quickly climbed the rankings to eventually be placed top three in the world for his age in downhill slalom racing.

An official with the German Ski Association saw his potential and Florian was enrolled into a sports boarding school to further develop his talent until he was selected to officially represent Germany at age 15.
“At the sports boarding school the focus was skiing, skiing, skiing. There was also a lot of physical strengthening and training seven days a week. My whole life was structured and concentrated around skiing and I loved it.”

Florian continued to compete and was headed for a successful professional career until a major knee injury at 19 derailed his plans.

“During a downhill competition, I crashed badly on a turn. It was a really bad accident and the injury put me out for sometime. After I went through rehab, I tried to come back but my knee never felt stable enough to continue racing.

This was a difficult time for me as, up until then, all I had really known was skiing and now my career was over. I had to decide what was next as I would have carried on skiing if I hadn’t become injured.”

Florian decided to take some time off and go travelling before deciding on what to do next.

“Around the time of my accident, I met my future wife Simi, and we decided to travel along the coastline of Europe for three months. I also travelled to Australia for three months and just surfed, slept in my car and meet a lot of people along the way and realised I really loved this laid back lifestyle.”

Following his break, and after much deliberation, Florian began an apprenticeship he had been offered with a German bank. He soon became interested in trading and eventually moved to the trading floor where he operated as a stock trader for five years whilst completing papers in finance and management at university.

During this time, an opportunity arose to study full-time for five months at Hawaii Pacific University which Florian jumped at.

“My time in Hawaii changed the perspective I had on life in general. I realised I’d had enough of the big city and was sick of seeing concrete around me the whole time.

“The city mentality wasn’t me, the focus on cars, restaurants and expensive stuff and working all the time only to have a couple of weeks holiday a year just wasn’t me anymore. I wanted to live by the ocean and find a better work-life balance.”

A short surfing trip to New Zealand gave Florian his first taste of the East Coast lifestyle and Gisborne in particular impressed him. On his return to Germany, Florian and Simi agreed that it was time to take their next big step and apply for a visa to New Zealand.

So, after eight years as a banker and stock trader, Florian and his partner Simi, a qualified architect, decided it was time to take the risk, quit their well paying jobs and the life they’d known.

In order to realise their dream of living by the sea, they sold everything they owned and headed to New Zealand. Provided with a residence permit for a year, the couple travelled around in a camper van for a few months. Over this time, they both fell in love with the country and agreed that Gisborne was ‘their’ place.

Simi found a job with Architects 44 and Florian operated as a private stock trader. The couple found a place to live on the beach at Okitu and got married at the end of March 2018 and it was around this time that Florian saw an advertisement online for what he describes as a ‘dream job’.

“I saw the job advertised for regional development manager with Gisborne Boardriders and I thought immediately that this was for me. It was the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for surfing with my management and finance background and years in professional sports.”

President of Gisborne Boardriders, Andrew Vette said they had short-listed three candidates from local, national and international applicants for the role.

“Part of the interview process was an assignment to prepare a ‘real life’ funding application based on increasing school age participation in surfing in the region.

“Florian completed his application in 24 hours (half the time allocated) and Sport Gisborne Representatives considered his assignment in the top 5 percent of funding applications they had ever received.

“His experience with high performance coaching programmes in his time with the German National Ski Team further complemented his management skills and his astute, affable nature.”

The regional development manager role was established to lead the delivery of the Gisborne Boardriders Clubs 10 Year Vision for surfing in the region. Specifically, this role is focussed on the coordination of events, fund-raising and sponsorship, surf development, advocacy and the promotion of surfing, said Mr Vette.

“What really stood out to us was his holistic vision for the role and passion for delivering a wide range of initiatives across all demographics in the region,” he said.

Florian says that he is excited to develop all aspects of surfing in the community.
“I basically want to make surfing more accessible to those who don’t have the opportunity like kids at risk. Of course we want to promote and advance women’s surfing, rippers, high performance programs for up and comers but definitely look to involve the community more so it is not an exclusive activity only happening in the world of the Boardriders.”

Florian firmly believes he and Simi have made the best decision in relocating to Gisborne.

“We both love the Kiwi lifestyle and the mentality which most people have and we hope to stay permanently. Living and working in Gisborne is great and the community has made us feel so welcome plus my surfing is coming along quite alright, for a German guy.”

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