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Teach Surfing in South Africa


Project Overview

  • ROLE: To coach and mentor children and adults in surfing
  • CLASS SIZE: 10-15
  • ACCOMMODATION: Host family
  • LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 1 week
  • START DATES: Flexible

For most disadvantaged youth and adults living in Cape Town, South Africa, surfing is an inaccessible sport. It is an expensive activity and a big percentage of people living in underprivileged areas don’t know how to swim. Projects Abroad’s Surfing Project gives you the opportunity to learn or perfect your own skills in the sport while teaching others and nurturing their abilities. You can join as part of a gap year, career break, or vacation, and while you do not need to be an experienced surfer, you do need to be a strong swimmer.

The primary goal of our Surfing Project is to promote community development. We work with disadvantaged children and adults as well as disabled youth, introducing them to the joys of the outdoors and the sport. Although many parts of Cape Town’s coastlines are ideal for surfing, most of those who live in townships have never been to the beach, despite its close proximity. As a volunteer, you will have an important role to play in helping them to develop their physical skills and learn how to work as part of a team.

Your Role as a Surfing Coach in Cape Town

A group of children pay attention to a volunteer during a surfing lesson at Muizenberg beach

At the Surfing Project, you will coach and mentor children and adults from Monday to Friday. There are two sessions each day, a morning session and an afternoon session, except for Fridays which only has a morning session. During your time at the project, you will have plenty of time and opportunity to work on your own surfing skills.

Your day will typically start at 10am with preparation for the morning session, as your first group will arrive at 10:30am. The morning session runs until 12:30pm. After this, you will have a midday break to have lunch, go surfing on your own and with other volunteers, and assist with equipment maintenance or program logistics. The afternoon group will arrive at 3:30pm. During both sessions, you will coach participants in the water and on the beach under the supervision of a qualified ISA surfing coach.

Please note that the project can be affected by unpredictable weather and wave conditions, especially in the winter months between June and September. If the weather is bad or surfing is not possible, our local staff will arrange alternative activities. These could include arts and crafts, games, or workshops.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our South Africa Surfing Management Plan.

Volunteer ProfileEmma Fauquier Volunteer spends time with kids during a break on the Sports project in South Africa
There was one child in particular who I taught in 3 hours to paddle properly, turn in for a wave, and actually stand up and ride a wave. This brought tears to my eyes for two reasons; the joy and sense of accomplishment on this boy’s face was beautiful, and I felt like I had made a positive difference in his life Read more...

Surf Therapy with Projects Abroad in South Africa

Our Surfing Project is also partnered with a local NPO that works with disabled youths, including children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and Down’s syndrome. Working alongside this organization, you will be trained in different occupational therapy techniques. Each week, you will devote three sessions to these kids and teenagers to help them learn how to surf.

Disadvantaged children stretch alongside Surfing volunteers in Cape Town, South Africa

Surf therapy has a number of mental and physical benefits. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a tangible impact on the lives of children and youths who face many challenges. You will find the experience to be incredible rewarding for yourself and your students, from the excitement of catching their very first wave to enjoying the rehabilitative effects of the sport!

The Surfing Project in South Africa is available from one week if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.

While you’re in South Africa, you might also consider joining a 1 week Conservation & Environment Project. For more information, please visit our African Bushveld Conservation & Environment Project in South Africa page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.

South Africa Surfing Management Plan

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