Being a Surf Instructor is possibly one of the best jobs you can have as a surfer.
Not only do you get to spend every day on the beach, you can manage it so you work during summers and escape the winters travelling. You can also get jobs abroad, or in surf camps right across the globe. On top all that you get the rewards of seeing the faces of super stoked pupils who you have helped get to their feet. It’s the perfect job for students at college or university or during their gap year.
We asked the people in the know what’s involved in becoming a surf instructor and take a look at courses on offer.
Ticket to Ride
Chris, how do you become a surf instructor?
There are several different elements to becoming a surf instructor. Firstly of course you need to be a good enough surfer. The basic requirements are to be able to ride left and right on unbroken waves in 1 – 1.5m waves with control. Next up you have to sign up for both a surf coaching course and a lifesaving course. The most popular Surf Coaching course is the ISA Level 1 course which is a two-day course incorporating both theory and practical elements of the course. After completing the course you will need to do 20 hours of coaching at a surf school during which you will practice delivering the lesson and be observed completing a surf lesson at the end by the head coach. You will also need to complete either a Lifeguard course or Surf Lifeguard course as stipulated by the ISA.
Steve, do you need any experience before you take a course?
You need to be a competent and confident surfer and to love see others learn and develop. You can get this by spending time in the water surfing a range of different types of breaks and areas.
It is a good idea to get some experience teaching surfing, the best way to do this is to assist on some lessons at your local break (be sure to choose a recognised surf school who are teaching to a syllabus and maintaining high standards of instruction). You will get an idea of how a lesson is broken down and what sort of help and support beginners really need when they are learning. You should then book onto a surf instructor course, there are a number of different organisations who offer courses but in essence they are all fairly similar. During the course you will learn how to plan and deliver a surfing lesson and how best to teach a range of surfing related subjects. Depending on the qualification you take you may then need to log a number of hours working alongside an experienced coach, confirm when you have done this then spending the summer on the beach in the waves teaching the sport you love.
The Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI)
Tania, what qualifications do you need?
To be a surf instructor you need a minimum Level 1 Surfing Instructor, current surf rescue, current first aid certificates. An ASI Level 1 Surfing Instructor qualification enables you to deliver, plan and assess beginner to intermediate surfing sessions in beginner level surf locations: surf no larger than 1½ft (½ metre) and Intermediate level surf locations: surf up to 3ft (1 metre).
In the UK and some countries you can hold a Surf Lifesaving certificate which includes both surf rescue and first aid. And in some countries, like Australia you may also need to hold a Working with Oxygen certificate. If you are working with children, you need to hold a working with children background check. But only a few countries worldwide have this, like UK and Australia. The minimum age to take the courses is 16 years old. However, instructors under 18 years cannot deliver lessons to adults on their own. There must have another adult instructor, supervising or nearby.
SURF INSTRUCTOR courses
ASI – Academy of Surfing Instructors
The ASI is the world’s leading professional membership, education and accreditation body for surfing, SUP and bodyboarding. Operating in over 20 countries, instructor careers range from Level 1-Level 5 Master Coach with continuing professional development. ASI accredited instructors attain skills and competencies to work in any location throughout the world.
Dates: From March – November in the UK, March – December in Portugal, late April in Netherlands
Prices: From £240 – £260
Location: Northern Ireland, Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Portugal, Netherlands, Israel, Australia, USA, Canada and the Americas. For more information on courses available and where head to: www.academyofsurfing.com/surfing/courses
Epic Gap Year
We’ve hand sourced the best Surf Instructor Training courses across the world including South Africa, Morocco and Australia so you can go live the dream with a world recognised certification! All of which are suitable whether you’ve had a few lessons or are already confident in the water. Plus save £100 on any surf instructor training course using the code CARVE100
Dates: Morocco – Jan and Sept / South Africa – Jan and Sept / Australia – starts every Monday, year round
Location: Morocco, South Africa, Australia
Prices: From £4275
H2O Training Ltd
We run high quality courses including Surf Lifesaving Awards, Outdoor 1st Aid and specialist safety and rescue training for coasteering and kayaking. If you love watersports as much as we do and are looking for supportive, professional education from people with years of industry experience then please get in touch.
Dates: SLSGB Surf Coach Lifesaving, Outdoor 1st Aid and Coasteer Safety & Rescue courses are available from March – August in Cornwall and Scotland. Head to: www.h2otraining.co.uk/calendar/
Location: Cornwall and Scotland
Price: 1st aid courses from £80 and Surf Lifesaving course from £250 (all prices include NGB membership and registration fees).
Become an accredited surf instructor with Mojosurf Academy and open up the opportunity to live and work by the beach around the world. There is no better place to develop your surf skills than at Mojosurf Spot X Surf Camp where you will eat, sleep and breathe surfing with some of the best surf instructors in Australia.
Dates: The 5 Day Great Aussie Surf Adventure is included in all Surf Academy programs which run every Monday from Sydney, Byron Bay or Brisbane to Spot X Surf Camp (transfers included)
Prices: 1 month surf
development $3360 AUD
2 month surf development $5950 AUD
3 month surf instructor course $7950 AUD + $1000 AUD local payment for certification & accreditation
10% off bookings april-june 2017/2018
This Australian surf development programme caters for complete beginners – pro surfers who want to develop their surfing skills to a level where they can take on surf instructor courses. Enjoy learning from professional instructors and experience practical sessions, theoretical sessions and fitness training. Develop pre-existing surf skills or learn something new within a friendly, family atmosphere.
Dates: You can take part from between 2-12 weeks throughout the year.
14 Day Surf Camp £1380
4 week course £2126
8 week course £4127
12 week course £5998
Surf Berbere Surf Instructor Course in Morocco is an amazing way to experience a fantastic culture. Throughout the 12 week course in Taghazout, you will train to become a surf instructor, learn French, teach English in local schools, and qualify to be a Level 1 Surf Coach.
9th September – 2nd December, 2017
6th January – 31st March, 2018
Prices: £4,500 or £4,275 with early bird discount
Solid Surf House
Had enough of your 9-5 job? Change your life and become a surf teacher! At Solid Surf House we offer a 12 week Surf Instructor Course in Canggu, a cool, chilled out ‘surfy’ village on the west coast of Bali. After 12 weeks you will be an ISA certified teacher.
Bali 12 week course:
1st September 17 / 1st December 17 / 1st March 18
Bali 8 week course:
1st October 17 / 1st January 18 / 1st April
More dates 2018 T.B.C
Prices: 8 week course £2,990 or 12 week course £4,350. Incl. Stay in villa + Pool, ISA course, lifesaving course, breakfasts + BBQ, flight (see T&C) surf trips, excursions and more.
Ticket to Ride
This is your real zero to hero instructor course! Whether you already surf or are a complete beginner we’ll take your surfing to a new level and get you ready to pass your surf instructor and lifeguard courses by the time you reach week 9 of your 10-week, 8 location, road trip of a lifetime in South Africa.
Date: 11 Sept – 20th Nov 2017 and 19th Jan – 23 March 2018
Price: Starting from £4595
Location: South Africa