This is Stoke

Surf "Voluntourism" - More Than Waves

Great opportunities to combine surf trips with volunteering your time and abilities.

May 21, 2013
  • volunteer
  • stoke
main imgCTF co-founder Anna Santoro, giving a clinic on proper paddling technique and how to escape a rip current. Photo by JIANCA LAZARUS

More and mores surfers and other travelers are finding great ways to give back to local communities while enjoying a unique travel experience. These volunteer travel or "voluntourism" experiences allow you to get to know the locals, their communities, and the specific challenges they face. Don't worry, you'll still have plenty of time for surfing and relaxing as well!
Below you'll find a working list of surf voluntourism opportunities throughout the world. If you know of others, please share them with us!


Surfing Doctors


A Walk on Water - Provides water therapy via guided surf instruction to children with special needs.
Center for Surf Research - Surf tourism program at SDSU. Focus on working with students, travelers, governments, communities and private companies to improve the sustainability of surf travel.
Surfers Environmental Alliance - Committed to conserve the quality of our marine environment, preserve or enhance surf breaks, safeguard beach access rights, and protect the coast from over-development.
Surfers Medical Association - Organization for surfing doctors committed to serving locals and travelers in underprivileged areas

Surfing for Change - Professional surfer Kyle Theirmann working to make the world a better place by tackling environmental and social issues
Sustainable Surf - All things sustainable and surfing

Central America

Surf for Life - Educational and community driven development projects in coastal communities throughout Central America


Valpo Surf Project - Uses surfing instruction and academic mentoring to encourage English language skills, personal character development, and environmental consciousness among underprivileged and at risk youth in cities across the globe.

Dominican Republic/Haiti

Waves of Health


Surfers for Autism - The Surfers for Autism mission is to unlock the potential of people with developmental delays, support advocacy for autism issues and scientific research

New York

Stoked Mentoring - Using surfing and action sports to instill resilience and self reliance in low-income youth. You can help out by mentoring a child, volunteering your photography services, or just raising awareness with a Twitter shout out.


Beyond the Surface International

Changing Tides Foundation - Non-profit founded by women surfers with the goal of partnering with community organizations in the places they visit on surf trips as a way to give back.
Save the Waves
Surfers for Cetaceans
Surfers Healing - Set up by Izzy Paskowitz for his Autistic son Isaiah. Surfers Healing runs camps each summer across the U.S. and can always use some great volunteers who don't mind getting wet and loving on some kids for the day. Volunteers with surf experience are a plus.
Surfrider Foundation - International body of surfers working for environment, access and social issues affecting beaches and surfing.
Waves for Water


Groundswell Society
Liquid Future
Misión México
Hang with the surf kids at Misión Mexico orphanage, they'll redefine your idea of stoke.


Misión México - Orphanage in Tapachula that takes the kids surfing regularly
WildCoast - Protecting the Mexican coastline against development and pollution


Monty's Beach Lodge - A beachfront surf camp in rural Nicaragua. Monty and his staff have developed deep relationships with the local Nicaraguan schools and clinics allowing guests to immediately get plugged in. Spend one day volunteering and the next swinging in the hammock. There is never pressure to participate, but always the opportunity.
Project WOO - Community based volunteer projects in Gigante
Waves of Hope - Non-profit community development program in Nicaragua. Internships available.

Papua New Guinea

Walu International


Alto Peru
WAVES for Development

South Africa

Travel to Grow - Teaching underprivledged African children to surf.


  • volunteer
  • stoke