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Volunteer Overseas

Volunteering on the Surfing project in South Africa

Project Overview
  • Placement location: Cape Town
  • Role: To coach and mentor children and adults in how to surf.
  • Age of Students: 5-30
  • Class Size: 10-25
  • Accommodation: Host family
  • Price: From Loading...
  • What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, travel and medical insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
  • What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
  • Length of placement: From 1 week
  • Start dates: Flexible

Our volunteer Surfing project allows volunteers to learn or perfect their surf skills, while supporting a valuable community project. Many parts of Cape Town’s coastline are ideal for surfing, but many people who grow up in the townships of Cape Town have never been to the beach, despite its close proximity.

Surfing is a sport that people living in townships often never get to experience, as many cannot swim and the equipment is too expensive.

This project works with disadvantaged adults and children, as well as disabled youths, and introduces them to the joys of surfing. Your role as a volunteer is to teach them surfing skills and nurture their abilities, encouraging them all the way. You do not need to know how to surf in order to join this project, as you will learn on the placement, but strong swimming skills are essential.

Surfing is a wonderful way for people to develop their physical skills and an appreciation of the outdoors, while learning how to work as a team, manage their emotions and pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Your role as a surf coach

Volunteers on the Surfing project coach and mentor children and adults from Monday to Friday. While working on this placement, volunteers will have time and opportunity to work on their own surfing skills. There are two sessions a day, a morning session and an afternoon session, except on Fridays, which only has a morning session.

The day starts at 10:00 with preparation for the morning session; the first groups start at 10:30 and will continue until 12:30. There is a midday break where volunteers can go have lunch, surf and assist with equipment maintenance or programme logistics. The afternoon groups arrive at 15:30. During these sessions, volunteers will be coaching the participants in the water and on the beach under the supervision of a qualified ISA surfing coach

Disadvantaged children stretch alongside Surfing volunteers in Cape Town

This project 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 is not possible, arrangements for off-beach activities will be made. These activities could include arts and crafts, games and workshops.

Surf therapy

The Surfing project has also partnered with a local NPO that works with disabled youths, including children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome. The local organisation mentors and trains the volunteers on different occupational therapy techniques, and volunteers will spend time with these children and teenagers for three sessions a week, helping them learn how to surf.

Surf therapy has a number of mental and physical benefits. This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and youths who face many challenges. It's a rewarding experience for both the volunteer and student, from the excitement of catching their very first wave to enjoying the rehabilitative effects of the sport.

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

You can join the Surfing project in South Africa for one, two or three weeks 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 short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.

South Africa Surfing Management Plan

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