Enquire online
or call +44 (0)1548 853803
Sun, spray

Gap Year Surf & Work Experience Tours

Surf Coach International are the only gap year surf tour provider to offer surf tour packages which include surf coachingsurf instructor traininglifeguard qualifications & work experience with world-leading surf brands such as Hurricane  and Dolphin Surfboards.

Gap Year Surf Camps

Our unique packages provide exposure to world-leading brands in the surfing industry and also provide internationally recognized Beach Lifeguard qualifications endorsed by Surf Lifesaving Great Britain, Royal Lifesaving Society and or Surf Lifesaving South Africa.

Become A Surf Instructor On Your Gap Year

The ISA (International Surfing Association) & Surfing Great Britain, will endorse your Surf Instructor qualifications. You will gain valuable work experience with huge potential of landing a job within the Surfing  & Lifeguard Industry & Outdoor Activities.

Gap Year Surf Tours Of South Africa, Mozambique & Swaziland

You will travel from Cape Town to Mozambique experiencing the wonders of three beautiful countries, South Africa, Mozambique & Swaziland.  You will also spend a week in the Shamwari Game Reserve  on an exclusive Conservation Experience. We offer our clients a Surfing & Cultural experience of a lifetime.

We aim to provide world-class service only using the most experienced and qualified Surf Guides, Lifeguard Trainer / Assessors, Surf Instructors & Surf Coaches.

After spending time South Africa, Mozambique  & Swaziland experiencing the ultimate Gap Year work experience, training and surfing adventure you will arrive home with two internationally recognized qualifications and loads of credible work experience to help you achieve your dream job.

You will get your very own surfboard to order or collect on arrival, to include Rip Curl wetsuit, board bag, back pack and much more all included in your package. See the What’s on offer ‘ for each tour.

What's included?

The following are all included in the 13 week gap year surf tour, for shorter surf tours and surf camps, see our what's included data sheet.

Tour lengths and destinations

13 Week Tour

  • Cape Town
  • Gaans Baai
  • Mossel Bay
  • J – Bay
  • Shamwarie Game Park
  • Transkei
  • Hibiscus Coast (South Coast Durban)
  • Durban
  • Umhlanga Rocks
  • Kwazulu Natal North Coast (North Durban)
  • Zulu Land – Impila Game Park
  • St Lucia – Wet Lands
  • Mozambique – Ponta do Ouro
  • Maputo
  • Central Mozambique – Tofo
  • Swaziland
  • Umhlanga

10 Week Tour

  • Cape Town
  • Gaans Baai
  • Mossel Bay
  • J – Bay
  • Shamwarie Game Park
  • Transkei
  • Hibiscus Coast (South Coast Durban)
  • Durban
  • Umhlanga Rocks
  • Kwazulu Natal North Coast (North Durban)
  • Zulu Land – Impila Game Park
  • St Lucia – Wet Lands
  • Mozambique – Ponta do Ouro

Week Tour

  • Cape Town
  • Gaans Baai
  • Mossel Bay
  • J – Bay
  • Shamwarie Game Park
  • Transkei
  • Hibiscus Coast (South Coast Durban)
  • Durban
  • Umhlanga Rocks
  • Kwazulu Natal North Coast (North Durban)

Week Tour

  • Cape Town
  • Gaans Baai
  • Mossel Bay
  • J – Bay
  • Shamwarie Game Park
  • Transkei
  • Hibiscus Coast (South Coast Durban)
  • Durban
  • Umhlanga Rocks
  • Kwazulu Natal North Coast (North Durban)

Experienced Full-Time Staff

Full Time Manager:

Your Tour Manager is there to ensure you are well looked after and to see that the tour runs to schedule.  He is there to offer support and guidance as well as making the tour full of fun, laughs and an unforgettable experience.

Full time Surf Coach

Providing you with expert advice and mentoring during your Gap Year Adventure Surf Tour. Your Coach will also provide coaching via Video Analysis and produce development plans to improve your surfing & ocean awareness.

Full Time Lifeguard Trainer Assessor:

We take safety serious and all our staff are qualified Lifeguard Trainer / Assessors, there to provide safety advice and daily risk assessments before each surf session or water activity. Our Lifeguard Trainer / Assessors are highly qualified and active in their rolls so you can also guarantee expert delivery of your Lifeguard course.

Full Time Advanced 1st Aider:

Our staff will look after you and attend to any 1st aid needs if required. We hold qualifications recognized by the UKSAR Medical Group – Level III Intermediate Casualty Care, so you know you are in good hands.

Free Surf Board & Accessories

Everyone gets a free Hurricane surfboard, board bag, wetsuit & surf accessories for the 13 week Gap Year Surf Adventure Tour.


All transport provided. Vehicles will be comfortable and have air conditioning and well maintained, giving you space to relax and enjoy the ride!


All accommodation is provided during your tour. You will stay in a variety of locations and sample different types of resting places throughout the tour. The accommodation has been hand picked by us to ensure you are more than comfortable during your adventure


South Africans love to braai and relax around with ice-cold refreshment & engage lighthearted conversation. Surf Coach International provides a traditional braai (BBQ) once a week. Vegetarian meals also available. In Mozambique we are able to provide you with a Fish Braai (BBQ) having the freshest fish & catch of the day.

Surf Coaching with Llewellyn Whittaker (South African Team Coach)

Llewellyn became a professional surfer in 2000 and consistently completed in the World Qualifying Series (WQS) He later moved to the UK where he was Crowned U.K Triple Crown champion 2007. During this time he took part in the British surfing Associations coaching scheme where he qualified as a level 3 coach. He was extensively involved in the development of the British junior team in 2006 and 2007.

He also finished 3rd at the South African surfing Championships 2008 and was surfer of the event. In 2009 he was assistant coach to the South African junior national surfing team, which took part in the World surfing games in Ecuador. His goal is to motivate, encourage you to achieve that next level in your surfing.

Field Guide Tour - Shamwari Game Reserve

Your challenge will be a truly life changing experience allowing you the opportunity to have a first-hand insight into the conservation efforts and drives at Shamwari Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Be prepared to get hands on in all aspects of conservation as you will be introduced to a whole range of activities and interesting people whose vision it is to make these amazing conservation initiatives work.

This malaria free area of South Africa historically held one of Africa’s highest concentrations of wildlife. Tragically, the early settlers drove and hunted out the species that once roamed the area some 200 years ago. It has been the drive and vision of several people to re-introduce these once native and endemic species back to the area. This is your opportunity to join this drive.

Due to the nature and structure of your groups a day to day itinerary is scheduled, however due to certain activities being dependent on weather and prevailing conditions, roll out of activities will be confirmed at your time of stay. Detailed below are various activities, which you may be involved in during your 7-day experience. The draft itinerary as shown below with a list of proposed lectures, practical exercises and extramural activities will help you to tailor make your experience.

Day 1:

  • Transfer from PE airport to Shamwari Conservation Experience
  • Tea and Coffee on arrival
  • Briefing on health and safety, house rules and regulations and signing of indemnities.
  • Orientation of facilities and surrounds.
  • Afternoon game drive (depending on arrival times in PE)

Day 2:

  • Meeting at approximately 07:00 for introductions, overview of experience, do's and don’ts, and an open-floor forum for questions and discussions.
  • Shamwari educational & orientation game drive, including a visit to the Wildlife Department at Amanzi - the heart of operations at Shamwari. Meet with Shamwari Veterinary staff for a talk on African wildlife veterinary practices and its influence on the wildlife industry.
  • Return game drive through Shamwari Game Reserve.

Day 3:

  • Wildlife activities on the Shamwari Reserve with the coordinators.
  • Presentation and talk on dung, tracks and signs, general African wildlife species of the bush, followed by vehicle based - on the reserve tracking of species for example, Lion, leopard or Hyena with practical game count of specific species or identification and monitoring exercise relating to population dynamics on a game reserve or wilderness area.
  • Afternoon game drive with Elephant monitoring

Day 4:

  • Game drive on the reserve.
  • Visit to the Born Free Foundation, Big Cat Centre with rangers.
  • Educational tour of Born Free including the history of the foundation and its inhabitants explained by the Animal Care Manager
  • Afternoon search for Cheetah on Shamwari, with possible opportunity for walks with the Cheetah.

Day 5:

  • Meeting with Anti- Poaching Unit manager with talk and presentation on Anti -Poaching methods and the possible way forward for conservation and protection of high profile species.
  • Afternoon game drives, with Rhino monitoring, and possible walks

Day 6:

  • Tracking cheetah and Leopard on the reserve with telemetry. Elephant and Rhino ID
  • Game drives in the reserve for afternoon, involving monitoring of Elephant and Rhino
  • Sleep out under the African skies, with shared story telling around the camp fire of the past weeks adventures

Day 7:

  • Return to the camp in the morning, for wrap up and departure.


Surf Lifesaving Great Britain - Beach Lifeguard Qualification

ecf941ad07bb93db12679252178b3bfb.gifSLSGB are the National Governing Body for Lifesaving in Great Britain. All qualifications are recognized internationally.

Gaining your Lifeguard qualification is a challenging but also very exciting learning new lifesaving skills and improving your fitness levels. A fantastic way of increasing your opportunities to work all around the world in your dream job.

International Surfing Association L1 (ISA) Surf Instructor Qualification

2ddd73a772b242485ea98e4ecfeee12d.gifThe International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. All qualifications are recognized internationally.

Becoming a qualified surf instructor is an incredibly useful qualification to help you earn money during your summer breaks or whilst you are traveling. There are also opportunities as Career Surf Instructors world wide, a perfect active outdoor job.

Work experience - Hurricane Surf

Day 1:

  • Introduction to the Surf Industry and the Hurricane Surf brand and concept
  • Surfboard factory: Talk - Evolution of board making
  • Walk through showing each stage of the surfboard production from blank to finished product
  • Assisting with sprays on their own surfboards

Day 2:

  • Surfing Accessories Talk - Evolution of surfing accessories and what's to come
  • Leash Line (Explanation and witness the production process)
  • Bags and Covers line (Explanation and witness the production process)
  • Tractions (Explanation and witness the production process)
  • Small accessories (Explanation and witness the production process)

Day 3:

  • Clothing and Apparel: Talk - Evolution of Surf Fashion (the lifestyle that’s marketed)
  • T-Shirt printing (Explanation and witness the production process)
  • Beach sandals (Explanation and witness the production process)
  • Wholesale and distribution (Witness the warehouse and dispatch process)
  • Retail (Run through a condensed version of the retail manager/shop assistant program)

Tour of Ethekwini Lifeguard Service

Experience an exclusive day tour visiting of some of the best lifeguard facilities world wide and get to meet the Ethekwini Professional Lifeguards in Umhlanga & Durban.

You will visit beaches such as Battery Beach, Bay Beach, North Beach, Umhlanga Main Beach & Bronze Beach all world class beaches offering great surf and bathing conditions.

You will be shown around by a Senior Lifeguard at each Lifeguard Station, you will also be shown all the rescue equipment and 1st Aid facilities.

You will learn valuble Operational experience from some of the worlds best lifeguards. You will have an oportunity to ask questions and take photos of this great experience.

Volunteer Lifeguarding with Umhlanga Surf Lifesaving Club

You will have your membership paid to become a Patrolling Volunteer Lifeguard with the Umhlanga Surf Lifesaving Club, one of the most prestigious clubs in the country.

Umhlanga Surf Lifesaving Club provides skilled volunteer lifeguards whom taking pride in serving the local Umhlanga Community on Sundays and public holidays on the busy Umhlanga Main beach.

You will be part of a team of lifeguards and will learn valuable work experience both on the beach & in the water, doing real rescues.

Umhlanga Surf Lifesaving Club performed the second most rescues in South Africa last year and in total since records have been kept we have performed about 6500 rescues on Umhlanga Main Beach.

They have 5 squads of +-5 people, who perform lifesaving duties on a rotational basis during the year.

There are 26 active Senior and Junior members who also regularly help out with duties.

The duty hours are 8am till 5pm in summer and 9am till 4pm in winter; these duties are performed all year round.

You will be trained to perform general first aid on members of the public who have been injured while swimming in the sea or playing on the beach. All patrolling volunteer lifeguards are very proactive in their roll and promote Beach Ocean Awareness.

As a Volunteer Lifeguard you will work under the supervision of the Permanent Professional Lifeguards and use rescue equipment such as rescue boards, rescue tubes, Inshore Rescue Boats to assist and rescue people in need.

Work experience - Dolphin Surfboards

  • undefined Welcome clients to Dolphin Surfboards and workshop at a pre organized time and day, with a good cup of tea/coffee or juice and a few good Ouma rusks.
  • Presentation on the heritage of surfing and the art of wooden surfboard manufacturing.
  • View different types of boards and construction methods from the ancient Hawaiian boards to the modern boards of today.
  • Show around of the workshop and some of the equipment used in making the wooden boards.
  • Surfing session, an opportunity to try out a wide range of different products, a truly great experience.
  • After the beach you will end the day with a good South African braai (BBQ) and talk about the day around the pool and bar at Dolphin HQ.
  • All products available to order from Dolphin Surfboards.

Natal Sharks Board - Boat Trip

A fantastic opportunity to go out to sea and watch the shark safety gear being checked in the early morning.

The Tour Boat proceeds out to sea and joins the working craft to view the shark net experience.  The skipper keeps the passengers fully informed as to the activities they are watching, as well as drawing their attention to any opportunistic viewing of other marine life and seabirds.

This two hour trip is an extraordinary experience to see Durban’s beachfront in the early morning light with the sun just rising over the ocean. 

Natal Sharks Board - Audio Visual Presentation and Shark Dissection

In an effort to bring science to learners and visitors in an informal setting, the Sharks Board has made a shark dissection part of the whole learning experience.

These sharks were found dead in the shark safety gear during routine servicing at protected beaches and then stored in deep freezers until required for dissection.  This ensures that the specimens do not deteriorate and valuable information is not lost.

You will be enlightened into the activities and daily life at the Sharks Board via the audio-visual presentation and the shark dissection is a natural follow on to complete the dissemination of information to the public at each show. The presenter gives an overview of the shark to be dissected e.g. species, sex, length and weight before the actual dissection begins.

You will have the opportunity to touching the skin, seeing the internal structure and learning about the world of the shark.  Senses, reproduction, feeding habits etc. are all covered.

Dolphin Encounters – Mozambique

Experience the magical world of swimming with dolphins in Southern Mozambique.

Swim coordinators will direct you on a majestic journey where the opportunity for gaining peace of mind and well-being is yours for the taking.

Arrays of dolphin species can be found in Mozambique waters, those include the shy Indo-Pacific Humpback and the striking Spinner Dolphin. Encounters often occur with the curious inshore Bottlenose Dolphin.

uShaka Marine World

The world-class uShaka Marine World, situated in Durban, uShaka has fast positioned itself as a key attraction on Durban’s Golden Mile, offering a world of entertainment, excitement, fun and uniqueness.

uShaka has brought together cultures, like no other place in Africa – into a safe, secure and clean environment that resonates the sound of fun, laughter and the spirit of togetherness. Entertainment is non-stop, extending from the daytime operations of Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild, and uShaka Beach, to the night time festivities of the Village Walk.

Crocodile Creek

Crocodile Creek is located on the Tongaat River in sub-tropical bush and is home to over 7,000 Nile Crocodiles, Alligators, Caiman, snakes and other reptiles.

Experience feeding time, guided tour and educational talks on the various reptiles.

The farm includes bush and hill trails, a waterfall, river plains, and thatched buildings with tree top walkways. There is a shop selling curios, crocodile leather goods, and croc dishes. Refreshments are also available.

Hippo & Croc Boat Cruise – St Lucia

Learn about the numerous birdlife, hippo and croc to be sighted with educational talks. The boats offer ample space to walk around in and comfortable seats from which to study the beautiful scenery, while being custom built to venture into shallow waters, excellent photographic opportunities are a given. A fantastic learning experience and fun day out.

Visit to Table Mountain (weather permitting)

One of the most well-known mountains in Africa, Table Mountain provides a magnificent backdrop to cosmopolitan Cape Town and now boasts the accolade of New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The aerial ride, the breathtaking unobstructed views from the mountain top, and the over all peaceful atmosphere of Table Mountain is an experience every visitor to Cape Town should experience.

Visit to wine farm

Cape Town and the Cape region are famous for award winning wines and scenic vineyards, which have so much character and charm about them. Many regions have perfected the art of winemaking so be sure to enjoy a fun day out.

Tour of Robben Island (weather permitting)

From the 17th to the 20th centuries, Robben Island served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment. Today it is a World Heritage Site and museum, a poignant reminder to the newly democratic South Africa of the price paid for freedom.

Get to visit this incredible place! The boat trip is fun; the bus ride around the island is interesting and entertaining. The guided tour by a formed prisoner is surreal.

Extra Activities: (Not Included in Package)

There is so much to do in South Africa, Mozambique & Swaziland. We have designed the tour to give lots of diverse activities visiting the best locations the beautiful countries have to offer. Other activities we are able to arrange subject to availability are:

  • Bungee jumping
  • Kite surfing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shark cage diving
  • Helicopter flights over Durban
  • Game fishing
  • Tour to Drakensburg Mountains
  • Flow Rider – Wave Pool – Umhlanga
  • Horse Riding
  • Visit Robin Island
  • Play golf
  • Visit the casinos
  • Restaurants
  • Night life

Join our mailing list

To get the latest news, offers and trip reports direct to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Photo shop

Check our shop to buy high-res photos from your trip.

View photos
South Africa
Surf Tours

South Africa
Surf Tours

In South Africa surfing & beach culture is a way of life. A balmy tropical climate and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean make it an ideal holiday destination.

Our African Epic Surf Tour will show you the beast breaks SA has to offer.

Find out more >>
Surf Tours

Surf Tours

A land of amazing exotic palm fringed beaches, azure warm sea, with a diverse culture, amazing fauna and flora together with unique cuisine makes for a true African adventure.

Mozambique is a great way to combine culture & world class surf in one unforgettable surf tour.

Find out more >>
 SUP Instructor Courses Flat Water & Surf

SUP Instructor Courses Flat Water & Surf

Get certified and live the endless summer by teaching Stand Up Paddle Boarding around the globe!

Book Now!

Find out more >>