Projects Abroad volunteers teach surfing in South Africa through warm up exercises.

Volunteer Surf Coaching In South Africa

Teach surfing to underprivileged children and adults and help develop the community

At a glance

  • Be a surfing coach in South Africa while working with disadvantaged children and adults on the beach.
  • The community struggles with users and domestic violence, so surfing is their free space and benefits a lot of people there. You will also be providing surf therapy for the children.
  • You will be working in Cape Town, a beautiful city with a small beach-side suburb that is considered the birthplace of surfing, while living with a local host family.

Start Dates: 

Completely flexible dates

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


Anyone aged 16 or over can join

Is teaching surfing in South Africa right for me?

Our Surfing Project in South Africa is a great option for you if you’re interested in surfing and want to help people develop through sport. You’ll spend plenty of time outdoors, and you’ll get to do lots of surfing yourself.

Teaching surfing is a way for you to support local communities, and add practical coaching experience to your CV. You’ll also hone your leadership skills, as you’ll have a mentoring role with children at the project.

You don’t need any previous experience to join. If you don’t know how to surf, we’ll teach you. However, you do need to be a strong swimmer. We’ll also teach you everything else you’ll need to know to teach surfing in South Africa. You’ll work under the supervision of a qualified International Surfing Association (ISA) surfing coach.

This project runs throughout the year, and you can join any time for a minimum of one week. However, it is recommended to stay longer, as you’ll have a bigger impact on the people you work with.

What will I do on this project?

As a volunteer teaching children to surf in South Africa, you’ll work with our staff to give your students structured sports lessons at the beach. Here are some of the tasks you can expect to do during your placement:


  • Learn to surf and coach disadvantaged children and adults
  • Participate in surf therapy sessions with our partner organization
  • Run educational workshops on environmental education and nutrition.

Your work will focus on the following aspects:


Teach disadvantaged children and adults to surf



Your main role as a surfing coach in South Africa will be to plan and run surfing classes for disadvantaged children and adults from local communities. You’ll teach them to swim if needed, and develop their ability to surf. You’ll also share knowledge about the importance of protecting our oceans and marine ecosystems. On Friday mornings, you’ll spend your time helping to update our records and logging the progress of our participants.


Work with a local non-profit on surf therapy sessions


One of our project partners is a local non-profit that works with disabled children. The children have conditions like autism, Asperger’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and Down’s syndrome. Our partner will train you in different occupational therapy techniques. You’ll use these methods to work with disabled children for three sessions a week, helping them learn how to surf.


Plan and run educational workshops


Teaching surfing in South Africa can be affected by unpredictable weather and surf conditions, especially in the winter months between June and September. If the weather is bad or surfing isn’t possible, we make alternative arrangements for activities away from the beach.


These activities could include arts and crafts, games, and workshops. These workshops can include various topics like nutrition and further environmental education. You can also speak about litter, and how it affects marine life alongside beach clean-up and recycling activities.

Where will I work in South Africa?

Cape Town

You will be based in Muizenberg, Cape Town. The city’s coastline has an abundance of surf spots, from coves with small, gentle swells, to expansive beaches with bigger waves.

Muizenberg is tucked in the elbow of False Bay. The gentle sloping sandy beach and consistent waves make it one of the safest and most user-friendly beaches in the world for beginner surfers. The surf is good year-round and the north-westerly winter winds create an ideal swell with gentle lines and long rides.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our South Africa Arrival Procedures page.

What is a typical day on this project like?

You’ll start your day with breakfast at your host family, and take public transport to your placement. On your first day, Projects Abroad staff will accompany you to show you the way.

A typical work day starts at 10am with preparation for the morning session. The first groups start at 10:30am and will continue until 12:30pm. 

There is a midday break where you can have lunch and fit in some surfing for yourself. You can also assist with surfboard maintenance or plan ahead for the afternoon activities.

Our afternoon groups arrive at 3:30pm. During these sessions, you’ll coach people in the water and on the beach, working under the supervision of a qualified ISA surfing coach.

Fridays are free days for your own surfing and data collection for the week. You are also encouraged to take initiative and suggest activities for the children.

Children learn to stand on their surfboards through volunteer surf coaching in South Africa

What are the aims of this project?

The main aim for this project is for you to help support local communities through teaching surfing in South Africa.

The people we work with come from communities that face challenges like high crime and unemployment rates, drug abuse, and domestic violence everyday. They have limited access to education and resources, and don’t have the opportunity to get involved with expensive sports like surfing. We also work with disabled children, providing them with occupational therapy treatment through surfing.

We need the help of volunteers like you to reach as many people as possible. You’ll support the people who attend surfing classes, and help them develop their fitness and ability. You’ll also have a mentoring role with the children and young adults.

Join our Surfing Project in South Africa, and help us introduce more people to the sport of surfing. 

Volunteers work with surfers and teach children to surf in South Africa

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Cape Town. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of South Africa and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa has a diverse mix of cultures. Our projects are based in Cape Town, a region filled with an exciting variety of activities to do during your free time.

You can catch a wave at Muizenberg beach or just relax in a seaside restaurant. There’s plenty of local cuisine to try, including delicately spiced Cape Malay curries and the creamy milk tart dessert.

South Africa has a difficult past, which you can learn more about at the District 6 Museum and Robben Island.

For an awe-inspiring experience, you can spend the day getting lost in the towering silos that make up the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa. Finally, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without a cable car ride up iconic Table Mountain.

We run many different projects in South Africa, so there’s sure to be other volunteers in the country with you. So if you want to travel with a group, you’re sure to find like-minded people who’ll join you on your adventures. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay a $295 deposit, which comes off the total program fees.

Things are changing rapidly these days. If you have ANY questions, please call us at (+1) 619 320 2424 and we’ll fill you in on the latest updates.

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