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Surfing with Kids

This programme teaches surfing to underprivileged youth from a rural area. Surfing keeps them out of trouble and away from drugs by giving them support and a chance to develop. Volunteers learn to surf and at the same time teach kids to surf; assist with beach games, yoga, and swimming lessons; and help with after-school homework.

Surfing with Kids
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Location Mossel Bay, South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You need to be able to swim. You must have a love for children and be able to teach subjects in a fun and interactive way. It is important that you are able to use your imagination to keep children focussed and engaged
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, police clearance certificate
Day of arrival Monday
Day of departure Monday


  • Surf and/or learn how to surf in a surfers' paradise.
  • Change the lives of kids from poor communities and teach them how to surf.
  • Experience several different South African communities and cultures.
  • Explore sights and adventures of the world-famous Garden Route.
  • Share this experience with other volunteers from all over the world.

Project Information

The Surfing with Kids project was founded in 2010 in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

The project’s mission statement is: "The empowerment and social development of youths living in rural and marginalised communities through surfing."

The surfing programme is based at Diaz Beach in Mossel Bay. The programme has been offering free surfing lessons to marginalised youths since November 2010. Children are introduced to surfing as a healthy way of having fun. As the children grow within the programme, they are encouraged to progress - to paddle deeper and surf bigger waves.

Empowerment comes as a result of commitment, dedication and learning new skills. Through the medium of surfing, the project’s team teaches the value of learning to do difficult things and enjoying the results of commitment and dedication. Social development comes as a result of developing self-awareness. Surfing is not ordinarily practised in marginalised communities around South Africa. By learning to do something they've never done before in an environment they've never encountered before, children develop a new awareness, forming new ideas about themselves, their abilities and their lives.

This project also incorporates a variety of other ocean-related activities, besides surfing, aimed at empowering marginalised children. They encourage healthy interaction between volunteers and children through a variety of fun activities, like swimming and doing fitness exercises. If the weather and/or oceanic conditions aren’t favourable for surfing, volunteers will engage with the children in surfing, oceanic and/or environmental educational workshops.

Your Role

You teach basic ocean skills and introduce young children to surfing.

During daily surfing sessions, you assist the surf instructors by helping the youngest and most vulnerable children to become familiar and comfortable with the ocean. These young children are generally terrified of water and most join the programme without being able to swim. They therefore need constant supervision and one-on-one attention in the ocean. You provide that support and assist these young children with surfing.

Volunteer Surfing: You will have the opportunity to learn surfing yourself, under the supervision of the programme’s surfing instructors. Included in the programme is a series of introductory surf lessons.

Kids’ Surfing Programme: You will work directly with those children participating in the kids’ surfing programme. You assist the younger children in the ocean, teaching them swimming skills and helping them to surf small waves in the shallows. You also play beach games with children and are responsible for general supervision on the beach and packing and unpacking surfing equipment.

Equipment Repairs: Optional extra tasks include equipment maintenance, in the form of surfboard and wetsuit repairs.

Educational Workshops: These workshops vary, depending on the specific interests/skills of volunteers, but can include other physical activities such as soccer, yoga, general sports. Further educational workshops are related to the ocean and/or the environment. These workshops are conducted ONLY if the ocean and/or the weather are not favorable for children’s surfing.

Extra Excursions: One day per week is reserved for excursions, sightseeing and/or shopping. You can explore the beautiful surrounding coastline of the Garden Route area, visit nearby towns, do some shopping or simply spend the whole day surfing and/or doing other adventure activities. Options include snorkeling, sand-boarding, paragliding, skydiving, bungee-jumping, canoeing, kayaking, zip-sliding, exploring ravines and waterfalls, tubing, and various wild-life experiences such as game-drives and whale watching! Plus many, many more! 

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.


You will stay in beachfront flats that are located very close to Diaz Beach, 2 – 5 min walking distance. The flats are modern, stylish and equipped with all the necessary utilities for a comfortable stay. All flats are 2 – 3 bedroom flats, with a maximum of 2 volunteers per room. Men and woman may share a flat, but do not share rooms. Each flat has its own bathroom, living room and kitchen.

The flats are fully furnished. The living rooms have comfortable couches, the beds are clean and comfortable, and there are televisions with a selection of channels. The kitchens are equipped with everything necessary for cooking meals and all the flats come equipped with washing machines and/or there are laundry facilities which are available within easy walking distance.

The flats do not have Internet facilities, but there is free WiFi available at Diaz Beach, which is where volunteers work with the children. You can also easily purchase a South African SIM card from a local cell phone provider for accessing the Internet on a smartphone.


Maria from Spain


"My time in South Africa has been a great experience plenty of good moments, people and memories that I'll bring always with me. At first I didn't know the importance of helping the kids in the water, I had no idea how scary can be for them due to the past and the history their families lived. This made me see that what I've been doing here is more than pushing the kid in a wave but helping him to feel comfortable in the water and enjoy a sport that he couldn't do by his/her own. I've also learnt about how people live here and their customs thanks to my host family, at the end I've got a new brother as he said: I'm your brother from South Africa. I'm glad to have lived this experience and still surprised how a simple cookie can take the biggest smile of these kids."