LIFE?S A BEACH
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
WITH a vast amount of experiences and knowledge to call on from his days as a professional beach volleyball player, Stuart Jemeson is packing his bags for a coaching role that is about to take him on an adventure that he'd never thought possible only a few years ago.
While still calling Coffs Harbour home, Jemeson is set to take off for the Middle East at the start of next month to take on the role of national coach for Qatar of all places.
A small country on the Persian Gulf, Jemeson can't wait to land in the capital city of Doha for the exciting job but he admits his knowledge of the country and culture is limited.
"I've been doing my research on-line, checking them out," he said.
"I do know from a few of my friends who went and competed internationally many years ago for Australia when we were in our 20's, one of the tours actually went through Qatar and they said that it was pretty interesting but that was 20 years ago.
"They're pretty progressive, right now they know that they're running out of oil, they know that we're going into a crisis situation in this next decade so they're changing their whole focus. They just held the Asian Games in Qatar."
Jemeson has been committed to making Coffs Harbour the beach volleyball capital of Australia since arriving in town over two years ago. Ironically it was through these efforts that this opportunity arose.
"When I put on this beach tournament here in Coffs Harbour last April I thought 'You know what, I should put my hat in the ring for some coaching jobs'," he explained.
"I sent out a bunch of resumes across the internet to all these international and different associations. I thought all of them came back with the 'mail daemon error' and I thought 'well there goes that'.
"Anyway nearly 12 months later I get this broken English e-mail from Qatar and it all started from there."
A small country with a population of less than a million people, there's still nearly 600km of coastline in Qatar.
Still a fledgling sport in the country, Jemeson is excited by the chance to create something virtually from scratch.
"I'm basically taking over as the national beach volleyball coach for their program. My understanding is that they've got some good athletes, they just haven't been honed into the beach volleyball side of things," he said.
"So it's kind of a bit like Cool Runnings. They came from left field and these guys are coming a bit from left field at the moment we just need to tune them into what they've got to do."
The first job that the Australian beach volleyballing pioneer will have is to take the few players that Qatar have on the pro-circuit across the globe and teach them the fundamentals along the way.
"We'll be travelling on the World Tour from May through to October, doing 13 countries in about five months," Jemeson added.
"While we're doing that, in between I'll be developing their junior beach volleyball program, getting it into the schools."
If Jemeson's fiance is worried about her man spending so much time away while she's left at home, she shouldn't be concerned.
Research done at the Coffs Coast Advocate revealed that for every woman in Qatar aged between 15 and 64, there's 2.24 men.
Then again, talk to Jemeson and you'll find quickly it's all about the beach.