Surfing has become more and more popular nowadays, and newbies and pros alike are on a lookout for the epic surf they can experience.

And South Africa’s coastline offers a number of promising spots which also showcases wide array of waves making it a paradise for surfers of all kinds looking for waves  and challenge themselves year round.

So we’re rounding up the best surfing spots in South Africa for the 365 days of adventure for you, your board and surf buddies!

 

 

Elands Bay

 

Also known as E-Bay, this West Coast haven is a westerly swell and has a southeasterly wind; it is considered as a gem for more experienced surfer.

Waves here are best in summer when swell refracts and produces hollow take-off running for as high as 150 meters.

The surrounding town is pretty much laid back, with only one hotel, a few guest-houses and one liquor store near the camp site. The spot becomes touristic during weekends but remains as a local’s spot so be reminded that everyone’s not speaking English.

 

 

Jeffrey’s Bay

 

A premiere surf spot and a mecca for surfers from all over the globe, J Bay has one of the world’s most consistent tubes. Supertubes here are said to be one of the fastest and most perfectly formed waves in the world.

It’s long and fast right-hand wave is picture-perfect for the pros.

Waves here are best during winter months which can be as long as 800 meters.

Due to its enormous waves, J Bay is where annual Billabong pro surfing challenge is held and was actually ranked as 2nd of the ‘Best Surfing Destinations in the World’.

J Bay itself offers a variety of handcrafted clothing, surf, and leathers shoes stores. Art also has a place here for their handcrafted shell-art.

 

 

Durban

 

Dubbed as Surf City and Bay of Plenty, there is no time of the day when the wave here is not working; it gets bigger from the south to the north.

Durban is also a spot for great waves of all shapes. It is considered as South Africa’s surfing capital.

Surfers gather here especially during the months of April to September. The warm and hot weather in the area makes surfing longer and more comfortable.

Durban is also perfect for party lovers for its many clubs and pubs. Many surfers coming to this spot have sharks at the top of their mind but so far, there’s no single shark attack thanks to shark nets.

 

 

Dungeons

 

Known for its big wave, Dungeons is classed to be one of the legendary surf spot for the brave and experienced surfers.

The big waves break over a shallow reef on the ocean side of Hout Bay Dungeons which is only accessible by boat. Though the giant swells come far and in between, it is always worth the wait.

Dungeons is suitable for those looking for a winter storm surf, the swell at Dungeons can be as high as 15-30 foot making it perfect for those seeking for a good adrenaline rush.

Sharks are also a challenge in Dungeons but the waves themselves has built a dangerous yet legendary status.

Dungeons is also a great place for a warm and relaxed drink after a great surf.

 

 

Cape St. Francis

 

With a variety of point and short breaks, the Cape is a nice place to go surfing all year long.

It’s waves can roll for kilometers due to low pressure systems in nearby Antarctica and southern tip of South Africa.

The area is also popular for its clean beaches.

The Cape is also home to a Penguin Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and houses the Irma Booysen Floral Reserve giving off a more environment-friendly ambience.

 

 

Muizenberg

 

Also known as the ultimate family beach, Muizenberg is a definite surfing spot for the newbies.

Being the Surfer’s Corner, this spot is suited for all levels of surfers especially for long boarders.

Muizenberg is essentially perfect for those learning the basics of surfing as it offers fun and relaxed waves as well as surfing camps.

It is also a Blue Flag Beach which means that your safety is their priority.

Surfing here is best during winter from December to March but waters can be surf almost every day of the year.

You can also get a delicious lunch at the Knead bakery-deli which is a part of post-surf tradition.

 

Surfing is a big thing in South Africa so whether it’s summer or winter, it has always something in store for you. The Rainbow Nation offers a wide array of waves for surfers from all walks of life. You can also learn and make friends from pros from across the globe who flock in for practice and competitions.

Jump on a South Africa Surf Adventure and discover some of the amazing waves this region has to offer. Ride on the tide and feel the vibe. Who knows, maybe the wave of your life wave is just waiting there for you!

 

Looking to go surfing in South Africa?

Check out our range of South Africa Surf Adventures – which hit up heaps of these amazing surf spots!

 

As avid surfers the Epic Gap Year team have spent countless days on the road in search of beautiful waves with their board shorts in tow and surfboard under their arms – it’s a tough life sometimes!

But what makes the perfect backpacker surf town?

Well for most surfers it’s a mix of pumping waves, sunshine, cheap living and good vibes…and of course some empty lineups are always on the agenda but with surfing growing so much that can be a big ask!

So we chatted yo our nomadic surfers and asked them to share their favourite backpacker surf towns across the globe – so you can start planning your next surf trip!

 

General Luna, Siargao – The Philippines

If you’re looking for an island paradise surrounded by a huge variety of pumping surf breaks (including a spot on the WQS tour) then Siargao in The Philippines ticks all the boxes. The water is warm, the living is cheap and barefoot living is a must.

Wandering through palm trees to empty beaches and jumping off boats into empty lineups? Yup Siargao is pretty epic – it’s no wonder that Siargao is one of our most popular surf camp experiences!

 

Byron Bay – Australia

A few of our team have big soft spots for this hippie surf town in northern New South Wales, Australia. There’s a very arty vibe going on, with buskers on every corner and heap of arts and crafts being sold around the place. Although the lineups are far from empty (The Pass on a solid day attracts surfers from miles around!) there are still plenty of waves to go around.

And when the sun goes down surfers mingle alongside backpackers and party the night away!

 

Muizenberg, Cape Town – South Africa

The base for our Cape Town Intro Packages and starting point for our South Africa Surf Adventures, Muizenberg is one of the best spots to learn to surf in South Africa with it’s mellow beach breaks. A short drive along the coast and those who prefer a more challenging waves will be more than happy as the rugged coastline serves up everything from reefs to big wave peaks.

The town itself is super chilled with plenty of good food to sample and fun locals to meet. And of course it all sits in the shadow of Table Mountain, one of the icons of South Africa!

 

Yamba – Australia

A few hours from Byron Bay (one of our other top backpacker surf spots) is Yamba. This sleepy little town off the main backpacker trail is a hidden gem and is well worth a stop off on your way up the East Coast of Australia.

For beginners the Yamba YHA offer guided beginner surfing where as more competent surfers are spoilt for choice with spots like Back Beach and Angourie Point being local favourites.

 

Uluwatu, Bali – Indonesia

Indonesia is a mecca for surfers and there are plenty of amazing surf spots to check out throughout the many islands (check out our Indo Island Hopper Surf Trips and 2 & 4 Week Indonesia Surf Adventures!) but the most infamous spot in Bali has to be Uluwatu.

During peak season this wave gets BIG and super hollow – if you can ride it it’ll produce waves you’ll remember for the rest of your life, or for those not keen on braving the reeling left hand reef grab a cold Bintang and watch the show from the many Warungs that overlook it.

Or on Sunday hit up Single Fin for a sundown session!

The off season is a bit more mellow and even loggers can grab a slice of the action on the mid to high tide!

 

Taghazout – Morocco

Nestled in the south of Morocco is the famed Taghazout – a surf spot just a quick hop from anywhere in Europe which offers up some great cultural immersion, sunshine and heaps of waves!

In fact it’s one of the most wave rich locations we’ve ever surfed – with breaks for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers all along the coast. Perfect for our zero to hero surf instructor course!

There are plenty of surf camps to choose from and they all have great vibes, so grab a glass of mint tea and tuck into a post surf tagine!

 

Montanita – Ecuador

As well as being the base for our Learn Spanish in Ecuador experiences and a stop off for our Ecuador Travelling Classroom, Montanita is an epic backpacker surf spot.

Hit up the beach during the day and learn to surf, or if you’re feeling more confident tackle the reeling right hander at The Point.

When the sun goes down it’s time to hit Cocktail Alley and party the night away at Cana Grill to some salsa dancing goodness!

 

Mancora – Peru

Mancora isn’t on many backpacking maps but for surfers it’s a must – especially if you’re heading down from or up to Ecuador!

The left hander here can produce some epically long rides, with barrelling sections and big carving walls – so grab a board and get involved.

If you’re heading this way we highly recommend staying at Loki Hostel – right in front of the beach which a pumping bar and refreshing swimming pool, the perfect surfing base!

 

Raglan – New Zealand

We love traveling in New Zealand – it’s a stunning country! Even though the waves here aren’t as famed as its Australian cousin New Zealand has more than it’s fair share of waves nestled against it’s rugged landscape.

Raglan – with its black sand beaches – came to fame in the iconic surf movie The Endless Summer and is well worth a visit. For beginners Raglan Surf School take care of you on the main beach, whilst more advanced surfers can enjoy spots like Manu Bay – where you’ll score some of the longest rides of your life!

It’s a sleepy little town, but Sunday Sessions definitely draw a fun crowd of travellers and surfers!

 

Where is your favourite backpacking surf spot?

Would you add any others to the list?

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Are you planning some epic adventures and travel plans for 2016? Well you’re in good company as so are our team of world travellers!

But with so many places to visit and things to experience why not set yourself some goals for the year, focus your journey and make the most of your time on the road?

These are the travel goals our team are aiming for in 2016…

 

Travel To 5 New Countries

They say every year you should travel to some place you’ve never been before…but why stop at one? Our wandering nomads are hitting up heaps of new countries this year – from New Zealand to Vietnam, Costa Rica to Fiji.
Where is top of your list for this year?

 

Get Your Budget Under Control

Whether you’ve been on the road for 2 year or 2 weeks keeping your travel budget in check is a skill you want to master quickly – so why not set yourself a budget goal for 2016?
Our buddy Chris from Backpacker Banter is keeping on top of of goal of £25 per day throughout the year – which is the ideal benchmark for anyone hitting the road…challenge accepted!

 

Learn A New Skill

Wandering around the globe is heaps of fun, but here at Epic Gap Year we’re also keen to promote the fact you can have just as much fun whilst learning something new too!
Whether that’s learning to scuba dive with an open water dive course, picking up the local lingo learning Spanish in Ecuador or hitting the waves learning to surf get out there and be productive with your adventures.

 

Give Something Back

With all the amazing experiences you have on the road it’s always important to try and give something back to the communities and people that make your journey that much more memorable.
Simple things like eating at local restaurants or using a local tour guide make a massive differences to the community or you can go all out and get involved in a more structure programme like volunteering at a school or even marine conservation programmes.

 

Travel Overland More

As well as being more environmentally friendly than heaps of flights travelling overland is also way more fun!
We’ve lost count of the amount of awesome travel buddies we’ve met in bus stations and on overnight trains as well as the endless amounts of random stories that happen when you brave overland border crossings or slow boats down the Mekong!
If you’re not so keen on going it solo check out our range of travel passes covering everywhere from South East Asia to Australia for a slightly more structures approach without loosing all the fun!

 

Have you set your travel goals for 2016 yet?

Anything you’d add to our list?

Travelling on a budget usually means one thing – hostel life! Over the last few years all our team have lived, worked and bounced between hostels all over the globe and it has been a marmite relationship – some we love, others we loathe!

So if you’re heading out into the backpacker bubble for the first time here are 5 things you should check out before checking into any hostel…

 

The Beds

This is a pretty obvious one! At the end of the day you’re paying for a nights sleep, not to party (well usually anyway!) so if you haven’t rebooked and you’ve just arrived ask to be shown around and lie on one of the beds to test it out!

Trust us you don’t want to try and get a refreshing nights sleep on a rock solid mattress or lumpy bed…it’s juts not worth it!

 

The Common Areas

One of the best things about backpacking is meeting heaps of fellow travellers – it keeps the travel stoked flowing! Hostels are also one of the best ways to meet a huge array of people and the hub for the social side of hostel life is the common area so when you’re picking a hostel make sure it has this nailed down!

Rooftops, bars, chill out areas – the cooler the better! The amount of crazy travel plans we’ve been thrown into after meeting people in hostel common areas is ridiculous and worth every moment!

 

Book Hostels Online Now
 

The Facilities

Although sleep and socialising are two huge points when picking your hostel facilities should also be something you keep tabs on too. Free wifi, breakfast, TV rooms, travel booking desks, beer on check in…the added extras are what make great hostels stand out from the base ones.

 

The Location

Doing some research on the areas you want to visit in a new city can have big effects on the hostel you choose. There’s no point picking a cheaper place if everything you want to see and do is on the other side of the city – you’ll rack up heaps of extra costs getting from place to place.

On the flip side though you want to be somewhere you can rest up rather than listening to bars pump out music until 4am so picking a good location is key!

 

The Cost

At the end of the day you’re travelling and every dollar counts! But this is where the big balance occurs – sure you can grab a $2 a night hostel and save heaps of money but the chances are it’s going to be cramped, basic and probably not the best experience in the world.

You’ll soon discover where your personal money v comfort scale lies – but to begin with it’s very trial and error…so good luck!

 

What are the key things you look for in a hostel – any awesome places you’d recommend?

Planning a gap year can be a pretty daunting prospect – there’s so much to organise, plan and think about that it can all be pretty overwhelming!

Luckily for you though our team have been on the road for years and have the whole planning thing down to a pretty smooth process – so here’s 5 of our favourite planning tips to help you gap year get off to the best possible start…

 

Budget & Saving Breakdown

One of the biggest things to get nailed with your gap year is money. As much as we all hate it money is pretty central to your plans so it’s time to make nice with your bank balance!

When you’re in saving mode a simple spreadsheet will help you plan out how much you can save and keep track of everything. 

Keep track of your incomings, outgoings and any extras that add into the pot. Figuring out how much money you can realistically save each month will help you figure out when you can leave and what you’re final travel budget will be!

And once you’re on the road it’s even more important to keep track of your dollar. 

Spots like Thailand and The Philippines will cost less than areas like Australia or New Zealand so adjust your monthly spend accordingly, just don’t fall into the trap of overspending since you’re somewhere cheap, you’ll be glad of the extra cash for spontaneous spends and in more expensive destinations!

 

Lists….Lots Of Lists!

Lists are your new best friend!

Yup they’re the easiest way to keep track of things you need to do but also what you want to do once you’re on the road too.

Packing lists, bucket lists, list of countries you want to visit – start putting pen to paper and you’ll soon see a plan organically come together!

Packing lists will be written, re written, scrapped and then written again so don’t be afraid to adjust everything!

Pack your bucket list with you and things to do list too – the amount of times we’ve got so caught up in the moment on the road and forgotten that epic little day trip we found when planning is ridiculous…so you’re lists will help you make the most of your experience!

 

Research

And along with lists comes research!

Luckily we live in a digital age so there are heaps of epic planning tools you can use…not just guide books!

Check out heaps of travel blogs (our blog ambassadors are the perfect start!), Google destinations and even things like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are amazing for getting your wanderlust going so go nuts!

Again write all your inspiration down on your lists and you’ll be able to keep track of all the travel chaos going on!

 

Buy A Map…Or Two…Or Three!

One of our favourite travel planning tools are maps – they make everything so much more visual and easier to piece together.

Not only should you get a big world map for your wall but some more detailed ones too – specific destinations or just areas you’re travelling around.

Being able to see all the places you want to go and how they fit together will quickly allow you to plan your route and where the best spots to fly in and out of are!

 

Figure Out Why You’re Going!

Although one of the most important things about planning your gap year though is figuring out what to do the most important question you need to ask yourself is WHY you’re going!

There’s nothing worse than going in blindly and wasting all your hard earned cash partying and coming back wishing you’d made the most of the experience!

Start with your hobbies and what you love to do…

Simply want to top up your tan?

Fancy volunteering in a local community?

How about spending heaps of time surfing or learning to surf?

Or what about learning to scuba dive?

Maybe you’re into nature and want to photograph some wildlife?

Or want to be a bit colder and go enjoy some snow?

Writing everything you love to do will give you a great starting point for a well rounded gap year experience and whether it simply entails seeing some new places or goes deeper and helps boost your CV for your chosen career you cant know where to go until you know why you’re going!

So ask yourself why you’re going on a gap year…you’ll be surprised at what it leads!

 

The bottom line though is that your gap year is YOUR gap year – take on everyones advice but don’t do things simply because other people do them too.

It’s your money, your time and your adventure.

So live it on your terms!

Everyone loves a good island retreat – kicking off your shoes, strolling along white sandy beaches and lazing around in warm, clear waters.

And South East Asia is spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing backpacker islands – where all the luxury comes without the price tag!

Our team have spent more than their fair share of time with a cocktail in hand and the sun on their back researching some incredible traveller friendly island retreats….it’s a tough job but someone had to do it!

So if you’re heading to Asia anytime soon make sure you pencil these 5 epic islands into your travel plans…

 

Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao is one of our favourite spots in the whole of Thailand and is the base for one of our most popular open water scuba dive courses. This island is bustling with barefoot backpackers who spend their days under the water and their evenings watching the sunset from the many beach bars along the shoreline.

You’ll find good vibes, good food and budget friendly times!

 

Koh Rong, Cambodia

Cambodia isn’t as well known for it’s island destinations as Thailand but Koh Rong is on par with all of them. Since it isn’t as well known you’ll find a much quieter island experiences here, but there are still some amazing hostels and beach bars to fill your nights with!

A wander along the sandy shores might find you bumping into a water buffalo and a night swim could well find you in amongst the glow in the dark plankton blooms too – so jump on in!

 

Gili T, Indonesia

Another one of our favourite places to learn how to scuba dive Gili T is a backpacker hotspot in Indonesia. Less busy than Bali but just a short boat journey away it’s famous for it’s abundance of turtles.

Even if you’re just snorkelling you stand a solid chance of swimming alongside one of these amazing creatures so keep an eye out for them!

If you’re not busy diving hire a bike and cycle around the whole island – it only takes around an hour and you’ll find some empty beaches to top up your tan on.

 

The Perhentians, Malaysia

Probably some of the clearest waters we’ve ever swum in anywhere in the world!

These shallow warm oceans around the Perhentian Islands are teaming with pristine coral gardens and you’ll spend hours snorkelling around, soaking up the underwater landscape.

It’s an overnight bus journey and a boat from Kuala Lumpur but trust us, it’s well worth putting in the time to get there!

 

Siargao, The Philippines

With incredible scuba diving and world class surf breaks Siargao is straight in as our favourite of the favourites!

It’s the base for or Philippines surf camps and is well off the main tourist trail – providing you with the perfect island vibe, barefoot living and of course lots of uncrowded surf breaks to enjoy!

It’s like stepping into your own personal surf movie – flying in on a twin propellor plane across the mangroves and bouncing down dirt roads to the ocean!

 

Have you explored any incredible islands in South East Asia – what would make it into your top 5 list?!

Whenever our team are travelling around South America we always make sure that Montanita in Ecuador is part of our plans – in fact it’s usually somewhere we stop off for an extended period of time to kick back, relax and recharge.

But what’s the draw of Montanita, what keeps us coming back for more?

Well here’s why we’ve fallen in love with this bustling costal town and why we think you will too…

 

The Locals

The Ecuadorians are a massively friendly nationality and Montanita is no exception. Whenever we return we’re greeted by familiar faces who welcome us in like family and there’s no shortage of new people to meet and get to know.

Whether you end up staying there a week, a month or even longer you’ll soon find yourself part of the community – enjoying home cooked meals with local families and chatting to everyone you cross paths with.

And of course if you really want to get to know the locals there’s no better way to start than to join one of our Montanita Homestay Experiences!

 

The Surf

Without a doubt the biggest draw of Montanita is the beach…or more importantly the surf!

For the beginners there are plenty of spots to learn (surf lessons are included in all our Learn Spanish in Montanita Experiences) and for the more experienced wave riders spots like the famous “Point” offer up some amazing right handers!

Whether you surf or not, the culture of the sport is engrained in the towns vibe and we’re sure you’ll spend a few evenings relaxing with a sunset beer on the beach watching the locals do their thing!

 

The Party

If you want to let off some steam after a hard day on the beach Montanita has a really fun nightlife that you’ll quickly get caught up in!

Whether it’s a quite beer on the beach or some cocktails and dancing in the street in the famous “Cocktail Alley” you’ll find plenty of people who want to salsa dance the nights away – both locals and other travellers…so get involved!

 

The Food

When it comes to food Montanita has every taste catered for – quite literally! If you want to get stuck into the local dishes you’ll find a vast array of plantain and fish on offer, keep an eye out for the bargain lunch time meal deals dotted around the town and also the range of street vendors serving up all manner of tasty treats.

And if you have a craving for something a bit more familiar there are also spots  that offer pizza, pasta and burgers too – not that you’ll really fancy that too much!

 

If you’re heading to Montanita or Ecuador anytime soon check out our range of Learn Spanish Experiences – including homestays and travelling classroom options!

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Have you visited Montanita yet?

How did you find it?

New Zealand is an incredible place to travel and backpack and there are heaps of things to see and do across both the North and South Islands.

So much so that it can’t be tough to figure out how to fit everything into your New Zealand trip in a single go…unless you’re on a working holiday visa of course!

Luckily our team have spent a solid amount of time enjoying the land of the long white cloud, experiencing everything it has to offer and enjoying some amazing Kiwi hospitality.

No matter if you’re cruising around on the Kiwi Experience or a Stray New Zealand pass you’ll be spoilt for things to fill your day with, so here are some of our top to dos across the North and South Islands to get your NZ bucket list started…

 

North Island

From the cityscapes of Auckland to the pumping surf of Raglan. The smell of Rotorua (seriously it’s geothermal vents give it a distinct odour!) to the wind blown capital of Wellington – the North Island of New Zealand is often overlooked in favour of the South, yet it has so much to offer!

  • Kayak around Cathedral Cove
  • Visit Hobbiton
  • Go Black Water Rafting in Waitomo
  • Surf in Raglan
  • Explore the Bay of Islands
  • Immerse yourself in traditional culture on a Maori Homestay
  • Check out the geo thermal hotspots of Rotorua
  • Skydive in Taupo
  • Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Spend a day in Te Papa Museum, Wellington

 

South Island

The South Island is a firm backpacker favourite – with the adrenaline hotspot of Queenstown being the hub of many travellers stays in New Zealand. If you want to jump out of planes, hike through ice caves or get back to nature the South Island is somewhere you’ll always come back wanting more from…

  • Hike on Franz Josef Glacier
  • Swim with wild dolphins in Kaikoura
  • Cruise around Milford or Doubtful Sound
  • Bungee jump, skydive or whitewater raft in Queenstown
  • Tackle a snow season in the mountains
  • Stare into the turquoise goodness of Lake Tekapo
  • Get back to nature in Abel Tasman National Park

 

Have you travelled around New Zealand? Anything you’d add to the list?

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We’re not going to lie – being a surf instructor is a pretty freaking epic job. You spend your days on the beach, your evening sipping cold beer watching the sunset and you’re lifestyle is one full of stoke!

We know because many of our team have surf coached all over the globe. In fact it’s how we sourced most of our surf experiences – we’ve either worked for them as coaches, run their surf instructor training courses or helped create their surf experiences.

When it comes to life in the waves we kinda know what we’re doing!

So how do you become a surf instructor and turn the beach into your office? Well here’s a few handy tips on heading out to live the dream…

 

Learn To Surf

Well this is a pretty obvious start hey?! If you already have a good standard of surfing gaining your surf instructor qualification isn’t as hard as you might think.

To pass your Level 1 you need to be able to safely negotiate yourself into the lineup, ride left, ride right and do some basic off the top turns before kicking out in a controlled manner.

Once you’ve got that down you can get stuck into the qualification where you will learn a variety of teaching methods, health and safety and also gain your surf lifesaving qualification.

If this is where your skills stand our Morocco and Portugal surf instructor courses are the perfect place to combine sunshine and this week of leaning – or you can go a bit further and jump into the final few weeks of our South Africa Surf Adventure to get certified in Durban.

 

Go Zero To Hero

Ok so you’ve had a few surf lessons and you’re frothing on the stoke. You look at your surf instructor and think “damn that lifestyle is epic…I’m ditching my office for the beach” – well happy days!

If this is the case getting stuck into one of our zero to hero surf instructor courses is the way forward!

Over 3 months you’ll clock up some serious ocean time, improving your skills heaps and becoming a confident and competent surfer before tackling your certification.

With courses in Morocco, Portugal, South Africa and Australia you’re spoilt for choice for destination too, although personally our favourite is the South Africa Surf Adventure as it combines world class surf and expert tuition with an epic road trip from Cape Town to Durban…giving you the best value for money.

 

Get Some Work Experience

With your certification all done and dusted you’re nearly there! First though you need to smash out some work experience and get your work experience hours all signed off.

This basically involves being an intern, shadowing a certified surf school and putting what you’ve learnt into practice.

With our network of contacts across the globe this isn’t hard to get sorted and there’s literally thousands of surf schools who’ll be happy to help. It’s also the first opportunity you’ll have to start networking in the surf industry which is invaluable.

 

Get On The Job Hunt

Boom you’re all certified, hours signed off and you’re ready to get cracking on your first surf instructor job!

Happy days indeed!

Now if you’ve really proven yourself you might be lucky enough to land a job where you did your hours, which is the easiest way to get started!

If they can’t accommodate you or your fancy heading somewhere new that’s no worries though – you already know a heap of instructors and picking their brains for places to work and contacts is going to be the way forward as a personal recommendation goes a long way in the surf industry.

Tidy up your CV and tailor your cover letter to surfing – like where you’ve been and how stoked you are – and try and get together some footage or photos of your surf skills, even some simply GoPro shots are a great addition to your application.

Remember surf coaching and surf camp work is as much about customer service as it is surfing so even your job at the supermarket, cafe or travel experience will be worth a mention.

Sites likes SurfInstructorJobs.com post an array of the latest surf camp vacancies across the globe so check them out online or join some Facebook groups to keep in the loop.

Theres also no harm in googling surf camps in locations you want to visit too and pinging them an email – the worst that can happen is they say no so what are you waiting for!?

 

When it comes to working as a surf coach you’re not going to become a millionaire – but what we can tell you is that it’ll be one of the most fun a rewarding jobs you’ll ever do…so get ready to top up that tan!

South East Asia is an epic spot for a stand alone gap year or as the start or a full around the world trip – but why does everyone love it so much?

So we asked our team of world nomads and blog ambassadors to put together some of their top reasons for travelling South East Asia…

Cheap Living

Without a doubt one of the biggest draws of backpacking South East Asia is the cost…or lack of!

Countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia come with a massively budget friendly price tag so you’ll get some serious bang for you buck, especially compared to more expensive destinations like New Zealand or Australia…although they’re totally worth the extra money!

But when you can grab a hostel from £3 a night, a meal for £1 and an ice cold beer on the beach from 50p it’s not hard to see why a lot of travellers opt to spend an extending period of time in this part of the world!

 

Heaps To Do

And with all that extra cash to splash you wont be short of experience in indulge in either!

Whether you’re exploring the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, learning to scuba dive in Thailand, island hopping in Indonesia or learning to surf in The Philippines there’s more than enough to keep you busy no matter what you love doing!

 

Easy To Explore

Despite what you might think South East Asia is pretty easy to travel around!

Overnight bus routes, trains, boats – they’re easily booked on the ground if you like to keep things a bit more spontaneous or some of the most popular routes form some of the Stray Asia Bus Passes – the ideal option for those travelling solo or new to the world of backpacking.

Whichever style you choose though you’ll be able to bounce around and make the most of what these amazing countries have t0 offer.

 

Epic Food

Even the thought of Asian cuisine gets our taste buds going!

Even if you’re not a massive foodie you can’t help but be stoked on the dishes on offer when you’re travelling around South East Asia and it’l bring a whole new dimension to your gap year!

Indulge in some epic street food in Thailand, gorge on fresh seafood in The Phillipines, eat deep fried tarantula in Cambodia, try some incredible curries in Malaysia…there menus are packed full of tasty treats!

…just save room for desert!

 

Incredible Cultures

And of course on the best biggest things people experience when hitting up Asia on their gap year is a culture shock – it’s one of the best things about travelling the world!

Asia has some amazing cultures and history to explore. From temples (seriously you’ll visit hundreds of temples!) to floating markets. Dark and troubled history to the friendly monks and smiling faces of the locals you’ll meet there’s so much to learn and embrace.

Soak it all up with an open mind, get involved in the customs and culture and make the most of this magical area of the world.

 

Have you visited South East Asia? What did you love about it?

The East Coast of Australia is one of our favourite places to travel and if you’re heading off on a gap year the chances are Australia is going to be a solid stop off for you…whether it’s a quick jaunt or a full working holiday visa.

And over the last few years we’ve spent heaps of time bouncing around the land down under so we thought we’d share our East Coast Australia highlights so you can start planning all the epic things you want to get up too and get even more stoked for it!

 

Byron Bay

Oh Byron Bay we do love you!

This quaint little town is usually the first major backpacker stop off after Sydney (unless of course you decided to get stuck into our Sydney – Byron Bay surf trips!) and is somewhere we’re sure you’ll fall in love with too!

Barefoot living, amazing beaches, pumping surf, incredible scuba diving and a slower pace of life all make the Byron bubble a backpackers dream.
Kick back to the tunes of the local buskers, enjoy a sunset over mount warning or stroll up to the lighthouse to spot some dolphins and whales.

The only bad thing about visiting Byron Bay is the fact you’ll never want to leave!

 

Sailing The Whitsunday Islands

If you love picturesque islands, warm clear waters and pretending to be a pirate then the Whitsunday Islands will be a massive highlight of your East Coast adventure.

Choose a day trip or an overnight stay (which we highly suggest you do!) and the type of boat that suits you – diving, relaxing, romantic or a backpacker party boat…there’s something for every style and budget!

You’ll return to shore with heaps of new travel buddies, an epic tan and hopefully that postcard perfect shot of the famous Whitehaven Beach.

 

4×4 On Fraser Island

Alongside The Whitsundays a trip to Fraser Island is the other big East Coast tour…and our personal favourite.

What is there not to love about cruising along the beach on the worlds biggest sand island in a 4 wheel drive, camping with the sound of the ocean under a blanket of stars and visiting epic lookouts, lakes and spotting wild dingoes?!

Seriously, get it on your bucket list!

 

Diving The Great Barrier Reef

Australia and nature go hand in hand – but the ultimate natural wonder has to be the Great Barrier Reef.

Although you can simply snorkel it we think there’s no better way to enjoy the Barrier Reef than jumping a dive boat and getting right amongst the marine life!

Check out our Great Barrier Reef Day Trips, learn to scuba dive in Cairns or go all out with a Great Barrier Reef Dive Liveaboard…it’s something you’ll never forget.

Plus you get to go find Nemo too!haha!

 

Roadtrip The Great Ocean Road

If road trips are your thing then look no further than the Great Ocean Road. This stretch of coastal highway between Melbourne and Adelaide is nothing short of epic!

With hundreds of beaches and coves to explore the best way to tackle it is to hire a campervan with some buddies for the ultimate flexibility to pull over wherever you choose.

Check out spots like Torquay where Ripcurl and Quiksilver were born (and thus have some incredible factory outlet stores!), check out the surf of the world famous Bells Beach, meet a wild koala outside of Lorne and of course catch sunset at the iconic Twelve Apostles.

One of the worlds best road trips!

 

Skydiving

Want to pump up the adrenaline a bit? Then why not jump out of a perfectly good plane?!

Australia is a great place to skydive and has heaps of jump zones – fretful over cities, beaches, reefs…it’s an amazing feeling.

Plus you’ll get a pretty epic Facebook Profile picture out of it too!

 

The Icons Of Sydney

If you’re travelling to Australia then you cant leave without visiting the icons of Sydney.

Kick back with a beer in front of the Sydney Opera House, take in the cityscape from the Skytower, climb over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and relax on the sands of Bondi Beach.

Even if you don’t like cities that much Sydneys outdoor vibe and proximity to the beach will means you’ll have a blast – there’s so much to see and do!

 

Have you travelled to Australia? What East Coast treats would you add to the list?

Planning a gap year can be a pretty daunting prospect – there’s so much to organise, plan and think about that it can all be pretty overwhelming!

Luckily for you though our team have been on the road for years and have the whole planning thing down to a pretty smooth process – so here’s 5 of our favourite planning tips to help you gap year get off to the best possible start…

Budget & Savings Breakdown

One of the biggest things to get nailed with your gap year is money. As much as we all hate it money is pretty central to your plans so it’s time to make nice with your bank balance!

When you’re in saving mode a simple spreadsheet will help you plan out how much you can save and keep track of everything. 

Keep track of your incomings, outgoings and any extras that add into the pot. Figuring out how much money you can realistically save each month will help you figure out when you can leave and what you’re final travel budget will be!

And once you’re on the road it’s even more important to keep track of your dollar. 

Spots like Thailand and The Philippines will cost less than areas like Australia or New Zealand so adjust your monthly spend accordingly, just don’t fall into the trap of overspending since you’re somewhere cheap, you’ll be glad of the extra cash for spontaneous spends and in more expensive destinations!

Lists….Lots Of Lists!

Lists are your new best friend!

Yup they’re the easiest way to keep track of things you need to do but also what you want to do once you’re on the road too.

Packing lists, bucket lists, list of countries you want to visit – start putting pen to paper and you’ll soon see a plan organically come together!

Packing lists will be written, re written, scrapped and then written again so don’t be afraid to adjust everything!

Pack your bucket list with you and things to do list too – the amount of times we’ve got so caught up in the moment on the road and forgotten that epic little day trip we found when planning is ridiculous…so you’re lists will help you make the most of your experience!

Research

And along with lists comes research!

Luckily we live in a digital age so there are heaps of epic planning tools you can use…not just guide books!

Check out heaps of travel blogs (our blog ambassadors are the perfect start!), google destinations and even things like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are amazing for getting your wanderlust going so go nuts!

Again write all your inspiration down on your lists and you’ll be able to keep track of all the travel chaos going on!

Buy A Map…Or Two…Or Three!

One of our favourite travel planning tools are maps – they make everything so much more visual and easier to piece together.

Not only should you get a big world map for your wall but some more detailed ones too – specific destinations or just areas you’re travelling around.

Being able to see all the places you want to go and how they fit together will quickly allow you to plan your route and where the best spots to fly in and out of are!

Figure Out Why You’re Going!

Although one of the most important things about planning your gap year though is figuring out what to do the most important question you need to ask yourself is WHY you’re going!

There’s nothing worse than going in blindly and wasting all your hard earned cash partying and coming back wishing you’d made the most of the experience!

Start with your hobbies and what you love to do.

Simply want to top up your tan?

Fancy volunteering in a local community?

How about spending heaps of time surfing or learning to surf?

Or what about learning to scuba dive?

Maybe you’re into nature and want to photograph some wildlife?

Writing everything you love to do will give you a great starting point for a well rounded gap year experience and whether it simply entails seeing some new places or goes deeper and helps boost your CV for your chosen career you cant know where to go until you know why you’re going!

So ask yourself why you’re going on a gap year…you’ll be surprised at what it leads to!

 

numinous packs backpacker traveller review giveaway epic gap yearTodays a pretty epic day at EGY HQ as it’s out first birthday! Yup this time last year we were kicking in back by the ocean in Portugal and hit the launch button on EpicGapYear.com

It was the culmination of over a years worth of coding, writing, editing and all round travel related chaos – which included a lot of blood, sweat, tears and airlmiles!

A year later though we’re super stoked to have sent heaps of travellers from all corners of the globe off on some epic adventures – from learning to freedive in the Philippines to surf road trips in South Africa.

It’s been an awesome year and we’ve been blown away by the feedback all our customers have given us and how many adventures we’ve become a part of.

Our journey is as much about you guys as it is the EGY team!

 

Numinous Pack Giveaway!

So as is tradition on birthday we’ve got presents…but not for us – nope we want to giveaway some goodies to you guys!

numinous packs backpacker traveller review giveaway epic gap yearWe’ve teamed up with our awesome buddies from Numinous Packs to give away one of their awesome backpacks – which come kitted out with heaps of security features designed to keep all your stuff safe on the road.

And since we know backpacks are a personal thing we’ll let the winner decided between the 55L model and the 65L – so you can still travel how you want too!

All you have to do to enter is “like” the Numinous Packs Facebook Page and sign up to our mailing list (using the sign up form below) – so not only will you be in the chance to win a rucksack but you’ll also be kept up to date with heaps of travel goodness, sneaky peaks at upcoming experiences and lots of exclusive discounts!

We’ve also got a few runner up prizes of our signature Epic Gap Year Sunnies courtesy of the team over at Be Shades!

Thanks again for all your support guys….and good luck!

The Epic Gap Year Team

 

Competition entry closes at the end of June 2015

Winner will be announced over on our Facebook Page

No cash alternative will be offer

Judges decision is final

The East Coast of Australia is one of the most popular backpacker and travelling routes in the world, and with good reasons – there’s so many epic places to see and stuff to do!

Our team have spent heaps of time exploring it over the last few years so we thought we’d share our favourite stop off along Australia…it was tough narrowing it down to 5 though!

 

Sydney

Despite not actually being the capital of Australia Sydney is probably the most iconic city in the country (I’m sure our Aussie buddies will have something to say about that!) and alongside the bustling city life theres plenty to keep you busy as a traveller.

Whether you go surfing or chill out on the infamous Bondi Beach, meet some of the locals at Toronga Zoo or just stop over for a quick selfie in front of the iconic Sydney Opera House you’ll be glad you spent at least a few days there. As a major city there’s loads of cool stuff going on year round – whether its Australia Day Celebrations, Vivid Sydney Festival, or even Mardi Gras there’s something for every taste!

 

surf instructor training coach surf camp australia spot x mojo surf acdemy gap year-16Byron Bay

Without a doubt this is our personal favourite and Byron Bay is somewhere many of the EGY team head back to whenever they can! Learn to Surf (or even surf trip up from Sydney to Byron Bay on our surf trip experience!) scuba dive at the incredible Julian Rocks, take a stroll up to the lighthouse or relax on the beach and do some whale watching.

This laid back hippy town runs at a slower pace of life, so go barefoot, buy some anklets and spend some serious time there!

 

Fraser Island

As a big Australia bucket list this is probably our favourite trip in Australia. Load up a 4 x 4 with some good friends, some campaign equipment and some cold beers and head over to the biggest sand island in the world.

Cruising around through jungles, along the beaches and some crazy beautiful lakes make this tag along camping trip and incredible experience. Chilling around a fire under the epic starscape will no doubt be a highlight of your East Coast experience.

 

The Whitsunday Islands

Along with Fraser Islands The Whitsunday Islands are another huge to do along the coast.

Jump on a boat and cruise around the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef – snorkelling, sunbathing and cramming your camera full of incredible pictures, including White Haven Beach – famous for having some of the purest sand in the world!

 

Cairns

oz experience travel pass bus sydney cairns melbourne east coast australia gap yearUsually the town where you’ll start or finish your East Coast Adventure Cairns is famous as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and if you want to learn to scuba dive this is an incredible spot to do it.

If diving isn’t your thing you can still head out on a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef and get in amongst the incredible marine life that call this natural wonder home.

If you’re not diving there’s heaps of nightlife, bungee jumping and skydiving to be done, or if you’d rather chill out the man made lagoon pools are a greta place to mingle with other travellers, cook up a BBQ and enjoy the heat of tropical North Queensland.

 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to travelling in Australia so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to tackle the East Coast! 

If you’re not sure how you’ll be making your way up or down check out our Greyhound Bus Passes, Oz Experience Passes and Loka Travel Passes, you cant go wrong with any of them!

Our name probably gives it away but we’re huge advocates of the gap year – all our team have been inspired by ours own gap years and we’re stoked to be helping people make the most of there’s through our hand sourced experiences.

But what exactly is a gap year?!

We’ve met people all around the world and when we explain what we do that’s one of the first questions we have!

So we thought we’d explain what a gap year is…and in the process hopefully convince you to take one yourself!

 

Different For Everyone

The obvious place to start is the dictionary;

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“A period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between school and university or college education”

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But the first thing we can tell you is that a gap year is very personal and it’s different for everyone. Sure there are some popular routes, destination and activities but it really is a same same but different situation.

Some people head off on their gap year to surf, some to scuba dive, some to simply experience some new cultures or live abroad for a while.

Everyone has a different agenda for their gap year too – so it’s pretty difficult to actually sum up what a gap year is easily – it’s whatever you want to make it!

 

Not Just A Gap

One of the biggest stereotypes that we’re trying to break through our site and experiences is the fact people see it as a gap, a period of time before “real life” starts. If you ask many people what a gap year is they’ll probably describe it as a prolonged holiday!

It doesn’t need to be like this though, all our team and our customers utilise this time productively – whether it’s training to become a surf instructor or simply figuring out where you want to head in life. Without the pressures of a job or schedule you can be creative and pursue a different path – it’s what we did!

Sure you can simply head off on a big holiday around the world, but why not be productive whilst having fun? Skills like learning to speak Spanish will look great on your CV and could be the extra thing that lands you your dream job…get some real world experience!

 

Not Just A Year

Although it’s traditionally a year we think that notion is pretty constraining – so why not ‘extend’ your gap year?! You don’t need to only take a year because that what some marketing guru decided to call it!

Some of our team have been travelling for over 4 years – making the most of visas, work opportunities and skills they’ve learnt along the way to keep living the dream!

If you make the most of your time on the road you can learn heaps of things that will help you travel and work, so there’s no need to put an end date on it unless you REALLY need too!

 

Not Just For Students!

People instantly think a gap year is exclusively for students. Well we’ve got news for you – ANYONE can take a gap year! 18 or 80 if you want to take some time to travel, explore the world and try some new things DO IT!

Don’t think because you’re in your mid twenties you’ve missed the boat – if you want it, take it!

We’ve been stoked to travel with heaps of amazing people from all backgrounds and ages too. Don’t think you’re too old to travel, travel is a mindset and everyone brings something different to the table, which is what makes it so amazing.

There are heaps of ways to travel, so don’t think you have to spend nights partying in hostel bars – you could flashback it in budget hotels or house sit for a bit of added luxury.

Age is irrelevant on the road, you’ll always meet like minded people, so stop making excuses and go see some more of the world!

 

So what is a gap year?! 

We think it’s an opportunity – and what you do with that opportunity and how you utilise it is down to YOU. Sure we can help point you in the right direction, but we’re not going to tell you what to do, because what’s the fun in that?!

Want to get paid whilst you travel?!

Of course you do, so we’ve put together a list of the top jobs that combine travel and earning to maybe tempt you into a life of living on the road!

 

Surf Instructor

One of our favourite ways to work and travel! As qualified surf coaches some of our team have enjoyed bouncing around the likes of Morocco, Ecuador, Portugal and New Zealand passing on the stoked and teaching people to surf. It’s a great way to kick back, turn the beach into your office and generally live the good life!

Sure it doesn’t usually pay way – but it’s a small trade off for living the dream!

If you’re looking at taking this route check out some of our surf instructor courses – including a zero to hero course in South Africa, Australia and even Portugal.

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Divemaster or Dive Instructor

Almost as fun as surf coaching is the life of a Divemaster or Dive Instructor – it’s very same same but different, being paid to travel and working underwater. Professional diving can take you all around the world too – whether you fancy the colder waters of Iceland or the warm party vibe of Thailand.

Pay wise as a divemaster you’ll cover your costs and save a bit if you’re savvy – but becoming a full blown instructor will allow you to earn a lot more, but it does come with a bigger workload!

We’ve got heaps of locations to choose from for your divemaster course too – including Thailand and Indonesia.

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Freelance Writer

If writing is something you’re good at there’s plenty of opportunity online to work as a freelance writer, researching articles and producing quality content. It’s a tough gig to break into and takes a mixture of luck, talent and networking – but once you’re in it quickly snowballs and can provide a great income wherever you have wifi!

 

Travel Blogger

Professional travel blogging may seem like the easiest option to work and travel but believe us it’s not! You need to wear many hats – including marketing, SEO, photography and social media expert…if that doesn’t phase you and you have a real passion for sharing your stories on the road then it’s ideal.

Pay wise it depends on how marketing savvy you are, your readership and how long you stick at it!

 

Teaching English Abroad

One of the most popular ways to travel and work these days has to be the TEFL course – which allows you to teach english as a foreign language.

With jobs available world wide (Thailand and China are some of the most sought after spots) there’s plenty of opportunity to bounce around the world once you’re qualified, something that doesn’t actually take too long or cost too much either!

 

Online English Teacher

Our good buddy and team member Stephen from A Backpackers Tale has recently got started on this line of work and he’s loving it! You basically work as an online tutor via the joys of Skype, teaching kids from all over the world how to speak English…it’s like Skype TEFL basically!

All you need to get cracking is good wifi, which can be easier said than done in some places!

 

Cruise Ship Worker

We’ve a few friends who are making some serious good money and travelling the world working on cruise ships. From photographers to auctioneers, deck hands to entertainers – there’s heaps of job roles on these floating hotels. Be warned though this can be seriously tough work, with long hours, but it does allow you to rack up some serious passport stamps!

 

Ski/Snowboard Instructor

If the cold is something you’re more comfortable with and you’re a dab hand in the snow becoming a ski instructor or snowboard instructor is the perfect way to make bank, hit the slopes heaps and enjoy life. Some of our team have season hopped for the last few years – covering Canada, New Zealand and even Australia and they love it.

Check out our ski and snowboard instructor courses in France, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and the USA if you’re keen to turn the piste into your office!

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Yacht Work

Must like cruise ship work Yachting can earn you some seriously good dollar. It’s not the cheapest thing to get involved in though and the qualification needed to get even a basic deck hand job will see you investing a few thousand pounds! Still once you’re in the loop and working hard the pay and tips are well worth it. To boost your chances extra qualifications like dive master and masseuse will help you land that dream placement.

 

Au Pair

If you can get au pair work it’s a great way to spend a solid amount of time in a single place and earn in the process too. Some positions are accom only but many come with perks like cars, pay and food included so if you’re not so keen on moving around a lot this is the ideal option.

 

Freelance Graphic Designer

Our in-house designer Josh will vouch for this one – he’s been on the road for over 2 years freelancing as a graphic designer, working for companies all over the world and of course working for us too! It takes a bit of effort to get established but once you get going you can pick your own clients, hours and of course rates!

If you work as a designer now there’s really no major reason you can’t be doing that work from abroad!

 

Have you landed an awesome job that lets you work on the road or have any ideas? Feel free to share them in the comment below!

Having worked as surf instructors across the globe our team are always stoked when we source a new destination and range of products to add to our surf section!

 

Our latest destination is no exception to this and we’re stoked to be bringing you some serious Euro waves with our latest surf experiences in the Algarve area of Portugal!

Based down in Lagos and Sagres its a great destination to hit the waves and we’ve got 2 epic products now live on the site.

surf instructor training coach surf camp academy lagos sagres portugal algarve gap year-17

The first is a Portugal Surf Academy and like our Australia Surf Academy you can choose from 1,2 or even 3 months of surfing fun!

They’re geared up for those with little to no experience, coaching you everything you need to learn – from the basics of the pop to how to negotiate unbroken waves and assess new surf spots before paddling out. By the time you leave you’ll have a solid level of surfing ability and you’re sure to have heaps of fun in the Lagos Surf Camp!

 

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surf instructor training coach surf camp academy lagos sagres portugal algarve gap year-11The second is an express ASI Level 1 Surf Instructor Course. Similar to our Morocco Surf Instructor Course it’s aimed at those who already have a solid level of surfing and who want to gain a world recognised qualification somewhere a bit warmer than the UK!

Based in Sagres It also comes packaged together with a week of surf camp accomodation pre course, so you can have a bit of a holiday too!

The Surf Academy and ASI Surf Instructor Course fun back to back too so you can combine them into a “zero to hero” surf instructor training course – taking you all the way from the basics to becoming a fully fledged surf coach!

 

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Having worked as instructors for the team at Algarve Surf School in the past we know you’ll be in great hands and whether you choose lagos, sagres or both you’ll have an epic time!

Our free GoPro deal was something our customers were stoked on last year – so much so that we’ve decided to run it again this, but the time make it bigger and better!

Last year everyone booking onto our South Africa Surf Experiences before the end of the year nabbed themselves a free GoPro Hero Camera to help them capture their amazing adventures.

This year though we thought why not share the love – so we’re now offering a FREE GoPro Hero with all our South Africa Surf Experiences, our surf instructor course in Morocco and our surf instructor training in Australia!

Seeing as not everyone is heading out for the surf we’re also now offering the deal to everyone in search of some serious snow too!

So if you book ANY of our ski or snowboard instructor courses (for 2015 or 2016) we’ll package one in for you as well.

Whether you choose to hit the powder in Queenstown, Mt Ruapehu, Colorado, Niseko, Banff or Val d’Isere you’ll be able to capture to journey in photos and full 1080 movie, perfect for making your friends back at home jealous!

So what’s the catch?! 

 

The only thing you have to do is book your experience before 1st April 2015 – simple as!

 

And of course as with EVERY booking we’ll also post you out some of our custom Be Shades signature sunglasses too.

…so now your epic adventure just became even better value for money!

 

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The world is a pretty big place and choosing where to start your travels can be a pretty daunting task! Luckily the Epic Gap Year Team and our awesome array of blog ambassadors have done more than their fair share of globe trotting so we thought we’d pick their brains and ask which countries and destinations they recommend you travel to in 2015.

Hopefully it’ll give you a few starting points and help inspire you to check  out some new countries this year!

 

chris stevens backpacker banter

Chris – The Philippines

“I only visited it of the first time late last year but I’ve already flown back in early January for a second trip! Friendly locals, beautiful secluded beaches, clear water and an amazing array of diving, freediving and surfing make it my ideal place to visit. Just make sure you check the weather though as monsoon/typhoon season vary from east to west!

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Sam totally sams world blog

Sam – The Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

“If I was to recommend a destination from experience, I’d tell people to visit the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia in 2015. It’s small, secluded and stunning; as well as boasting some incredible diving and snorkelling spots!”

 

Lauren NEFootsteps blogger

Lauren – Taiwan

“Amazing street food, ridiculously friendly locals, pretty beaches, stunning scenery, and basically no tourists!”

 

drifting kiwi dave blogger

Dave – Myanmar

“It’s changing rapidly, but is still a stunningly beautiful and diverse country. Wonderful people, good street food, amazing temples at Bagan, Inle Lake is stunning, loads of hiking in and around Kalaw. Infrastructure is much better than it was, but there’s still plenty of adventure as soon as you get off the main tourist trail.”

a-backpackers-tale-stephen

Stephen – New Zealand

“Vast landscapes, plenty of adventures, massive hamburgers…an easy choice!”

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nick huggins epic gap year travel blogger

Nick – Portugal

“Stunning beaches, great surf, and good food down in the Algarve, especially once you get away from touristy Lagos.”

 

tara povey epic gap year travel team where is tara blog blogger

 

Tara – Japan

“It’s like a whole different world, full of the cutest stuff ever! The place is filled with lots of tradition, great food and bustling cityscapes”

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ally toullec epic gap year travel blogger

Ally – Costa Rica

“This year I am thinking Costa ricaaaa. Sun, sick waves and awesome diving. Still relatively cheap and not yet as packed as Thailand or Bali. I am in!”

 

backpacker macca epic gap year travel blogger

Macca – Singapore

“I’m all about the major events and celebrations, which is why I am tipping Singapore as a country to travel to in 2015. This year it is Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, 50 years since it gained independence, and there are events happening every month, culminating in a massive face-meting celebration of fireworks on the 9th August.”

 

clelia keep calm and travel blogger epic gap year

Clelia – Sri Lanka

“It’s still not spoiled by tourists and combines the beauty of the beaches with an amazing wildlife including Leopards, Whales and Elephants, not to mention the cultural and Historical sites and its proximity with the Maldives.”

michale huxley bemused backpacker blogger travel

Mike – Borneo

“Stunning jungle hikes, world class adventure activities, awesome ecotourism opportunities and the only place you can visit orang utan rehab centres! And you can still very easily find hidden, out of the way spots where there are no other travellers.”

 

What country would you add to the list? Feel free to share your top destinations and the reasons why!

Well xmas is over for another year and after all the festive goodness everyones suffering from the December blues – but no need to get all down and eat yet another box of chocolates or turkey sandwich…2015 is nearly here and to help you kick it off with a bang we’re launching our epic January sale a few days early!

…and of course every booking will still come bundled with a free set of Epic Gap Year sunnies!

Just a quick heads up if you click “more info” – the January Sale Prices can ONLY be booked through the links on this page, so when you want to book head back here to nab your discounts!

 

7 Days, Heaps Of Savings!

We’ve discounted a heap of our most popular surf, dive, snow and adventure experiences in our January Sales for the NEXT 7 DAYS ONLY (until Jan 6th 2015) and you can save up to £350 – which gives you more dollar in your budget for even more fun times on the road!

So if 2015 is your year for travel (or even 2016 if you’re looking at some of our ski and snowboard instructor courses!) then check out what’s on offer and get it all booked up! What’s even better is some of our experiences (like the Open Water SCUBA Course in Koh Tao) are open dated and valid for the entire year – so if you don’t know your exact dates you can still nab a bargain!

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Koh Tao Open Water Dive Courses – FREE DIVE MASK!

As one of our most popular trips and destinations we’re offering a FREE DIVE mask with any open water dive course booking (PADI or SSI) to help you make the most of the underwater world!

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10 Week South Africa Surf Adventure – £245 Off!

One of our personal favourite this epic 10 weeks surf trip from Cape Town to Durban packs in heaps of waves, mini trips and even volunteering to provide one of the best all round experiences we offer, grab yourself a new surfboard with the sizeable £245 saving!

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South Africa Surf Instructor Course – £300 Off!

All the fun and surfing of our 10 week course but with the added take away of taking your surf instructor examination course at the end of the trip. An amazing world recognised qualification which allows your to surf coach across the globe and with £300 off it’s even more of a bargain!

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13 Week South Africa & Mozambique Surf Adventure – £300 Off!

Probably the best surf experience we have on offer – tackle the 10 week Cape Town to Durban surf trip with an additional 3 weeks, off the beaten track surf adventure up into Mozambique. If you want sun, fun and surf for over 3 months this is the ultimate option!

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6 Day Indonesia Island Hopping Surf Camp – 10% Off!

Starting every Sunday our 6 day Island Hopping Surf Camp in Indonesia covers Bali, Lombok and Nusa Lembongan – a great way to explore and surf in Indonesia.

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Learn Spanish in Montanita, Ecuador (4 Weeks) – 10% Off!

Montanita is one of our teams favourite destinations and is the perfect way to learn Spanish, enjoy the beach and soak up heaps of amazing Latino culture. Kick back here on our 4 week option and nab yourself 10% off.

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Ski or Snowboard Instructor Training Course, Queenstown – £250 Off!

There’s still time to secure your spot for the snow season in New Zealand for 2015. Turn your passion for skiing or snowboarding into a career and qualify as a instructor in time to bounce back and find work for the European season!

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PLEASE NOTE THIS SALE HAS NOW FINISHED! 

You can however still book all the above experiences!

You’ve probably already realised that the Epic Gap Year team have a huge soft spot for surfing – it’s the sport we get most stoked about and something that has driven many of our teams personal travels, pushing them to explore new destinations in search of warm water waves.

So when we were asked to pitch in our 5 cents for an infographic by the guys from Total Surfing Fitness on the world of surfing and its top travel destinations how could we say no?!

We’re also super stoked that the surfing spots that made the cut included South Africa, Morocco and Indonesia – places that we already offer some epic surf experiences!

 

Have you surfed any of the spots on the list? Any you’d add to it? 

best surfing destinations in the world gap year travel

Christmas is fast approaching and travellers are notoriously hard to buy for which will no doubt leave you struggling for the perfect gift for those in your life who are on the road or looking to head out in the new year.

That’s why we’re now offering some of our most popular experiences as gifts – you can buy them yourself as an epic xmas present. You’ll get a voucher code which your super grateful friend or family member can simply put into our booking system and select the dates they wish to redeem it on, easy as!

The only hard part for you is deciding which of our epic experiences to pick!

…but don’t worry if you’re not sure just drop us an email and we’ll be able to help you out!

 

surf camp surfari guiding learn to surf siargao philippines surfing-1

Surf Experiences

 

10 Week South Africa Surf Adventure – From £3945

South Africa Surf Instructor Training Course – From £4645

13 Week South Africa & Mozambique Surf Adventure – From £5395

3 Week Mozambique Surf Adventure – From £1850

10 Week Moroccan Surf Instructor Training – From £3950

2 Week Fast Track Morocco Surf Instructor Training – From £975

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similan island dive liveaboard boat thailand gap year diving 2

Dive Experiences

 

Koh Tao Open Water Course – £165

Koh Tao Dive Courses – From £155

Koh Tao Divemaster Packages – From £565

Koh Tao Freedive Courses – From £110

Underwater Videography Course, Koh Tao – £460

Phi Phi Open Water Course – £280

Phi Phi Dive Courses – From £230

Freedive Courses Indonesia – From £162

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ski instructor training course skiing mt ruapehu new zealand nz gap year-8

Snow Experiences

 

Ski Instructor Course, New Zealand – From £6550

Snowboard Instructor Course, New Zealand – From £6550

Ski Instructor Course, Val d’Isere – From £7895

Snowboard Instructor Course, Val d’Isere – From £7895

Ski Instructor Course, Banff – From £7695

Snowboard Instructor Course, Banff – From £7695

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learn spanish ecuadorian home stay south america

Adventure Experiences

 

Spanish Travelling Classroom, Ecuador – From £1320

Learn Spanish in Montanita – From £440

Learn Spanish in Montanita, Homestay Option – From £495

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With the Philippines fast becoming some of our teams favourite destination in South East Asia we’ve been working hard to source a heap of new experiences and get them live on the site so you can head out and enjoy them too!

And we’re stoked to announce the launch of our Philippine Surf Camp experiences – aimed to help you make the most of this amazing tropical paradise, paddle out in boardies or a bikini and enjoy life on island time.

After spending a few weeks here ourselves we know you’ll have an epic stay on the island of Siargao, getting to know the locals, exploring the natural beauty of these palm tree laced shores and of course surf heaps of amazing waves!

We’ve got two surf experiences to choose from depending on your surf experience…

 

Beginners Surf Camp, Siargao

learn to surf philippines surf camp siargao island beginner surfingIf you’ve never surfed, have only had a few lessons or just want someone on hand to give you some pointers in the line up then this is the option for you! You’ll have 1:1 surf lessons throughout your stay from one of our amazing local instructors to really help make the most of the surf breaks on offer.

After mastering the basics like ‘popping’ and your stance you’ll soon find yourself riding unbroken waves and immersing yourself in the sport that is a personal obsession of most of the EGY team!

The week long experience includes everything you need to make the most of your stay in Siargao including airport transfers, accommodation, all your surf equipment, daily breakfast, your surf coach, transport to the local breaks and even a relaxing massage!

But of course there’s no reason you should limit your stay to a single week!

 

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Guided Surf Camp, Siargao

surf camp surfari beginner learn to surf siargao philippines surfingIf you’ve already got some solid surf experience under your belt and really want to make the most of the world class breaks that Siargao offers then our guided surf camp experience will really push your surfing to the next level.

Our expert local guides know the island like the back of their hands and will make sure you hit the best spots for the conditions and of course for your ability. Whether that means tackling the fast, hollow waves of the world famous Cloud 9 or simply cruising the more mellow reef break of Dacu (a personal favourite of ours) you can basically kick back and enjoy the many epic waves on offer.

As with the beginner experience you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your stay, but with guiding rather than an instructor.

What more could you ask for!?

 

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Whichever experience you choose we’re sure you’ll enjoy your time on Siargao, take the opportunity to explore more of the what the island has to off and get involved in the surf camp vibe –  sharing waves and beers with the other surfers and locals you meet during your time there!

See you in the lineup!

 

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We’ve been busy sourcing some new snow experiences to add to our existing ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor course and we’re stoked to have them finally loaded onto the site and ready to book!

To add to our instructor training courses in Colorado USA, Queenstown New Zealand and Niseko Japan we’ve sourced some new locations to offer you even more choice!

ski instructor training course skiing banff canada gap year-13

Banff, Canada

Canada is famed for amazing powder, bustling nightlife and an all round epic snow scene so adding it to our list of locations was a top priority for the snow team!

Based in Lake Louise Banff our courses here tackle some of the best powder in the world – 4,200 acres in Lake Louise alone and the bustling snow scene will mean even when you’re not skiing or snowboarding there’s plenty to keep you busy…there’s even the opportunity for night riding on the slopes!

The 11 week ski instructor course and 11 week snowboard instructor course both start at £7695 and run from January to March

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snowboard instructor training course snowboarding val d'isere france gap yearVal d’Isère, France

As one of europe and be worlds best snow destination training to become a ski or snowboard instructor on the slopes of Val is a solid decision. With over 350km of runs/powder you’re spoilt for choice and your base even plays host to the X Games, so you’ll be inspired by some of the worlds best!

The 10 week ski instructor course and 10 snowboard instructor course both start at £7895 and run from 9th January to 22nd March.

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snowboard instructor training course snowboarding mt ruapehu new zealand nz gap year-1Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand

With ski and snowboard courses in Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand we thought we’d give you an option in the north one too! Mt Ruapehu has some incredible runs, and is actually based on a volcano…it doesn’t get much more epic than that!

Like Queenstown you’ll experience some of the amazing culture and landscape that the kiwis have in their back yard and the climate means if you’re not on the mountains you can enjoy heaps of warm weather activities away from the snow too!

The 10 week ski instructor course and 10 snowboard instructor course both start at £6550 and run from 10th July to 20th September.

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We’re stoked to have these new locations on board and we know they’ll all provide the epic experience all our trips are hand picked for…the only downside is that it might be even more difficult to narrow it down!

 

Which one takes your fancy?

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When it comes to turning the ocean into your office and your passion into a career becoming a surf instructor is definitely one of the best jobs out there if you love sun, sea, sand and surf!

Here at Epic Gap Year the bulk of our team are stoked on surfing and because of that we’ve hand sourced some incredible surf instructor training courses at some of our favourite spots on the planet – South Africa, Morocco and Australia.

But with 3 incredible destinations to choose from and 5 experience options which destination best suits you and what you want to get out of it?

Well we thought we’d share a run down on the pros, cons and best bits to help you choose the perfect fit for your journey…

 

South Africa

We’ll be pretty up front about this – South Africa is easily our favourite destination on the list for your surf coach training!

surf instructor training course lifeguard south africaSo what makes it so great?!

First up the structure of the South Africa Surf Instructor Course is an incredible roadtrip across some of the best surf spots in South Africa, including the world famous Jeffreys Bay. In all you’ll take in up to 10 spots over 10-13 weeks and with some of South Africas top surfers teaching you (including reigning 4 time South Africa female Champ Nikita) your surfing is going to improve heaps! Even if you’ve barely surfed before you can get stuck in!

For us though the best part of the South Africa trips is that it’s an all rounder. Sure surfing is the key focus throughout but there’s heaps of extras included – like getting stuck into community projects, hiking up Table Mountain, conquering the worlds highest bungee and even a safari. You even have a few options to really get the most of your trip too and you can bolt on a 3 week surf adventure in Mozambique to form an epic 13 week surf trip!

We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again – it’s as much an epic adventure as it is a surf trip!

Pros; Suitable for all levels of surfer, heaps of inclusions, world class surf coaches, amazing roadtrip format, get involved in community projects, variety of incredible surf breaks, add on a Mozam road trip, great exchange rate, can upgrade from surf adventure to instructor exam at any point.

Cons; Long haul flight to Cape Town, hard to decide between 10 and 13 weeks!

 

Morocco

Some of our team have run a surf instructor training course in Morocco and we really enjoyed it out  there, it’s one of the most surf rich coastlines we’ve ever travelled.

surf instructor training morocco taghzout isa level 1For those with little or no surf experience the full 10 week training course is based in the sleepy surf town of Taghazout where Saharan winds keep the temperature up and the Atlantic Ocean keeps the swell pumping! Within a 10 minute drive either side of your surf camp base there’s heaps of spots – from beach breaks to points and even reefs – including the famous Anchor Point. So as you improve you have a better scope of surf spots to tackle.

As with the South Africa course there’s some community projects which come as part of the trip, although you are primarily based in the Taghazout Camp.

For those who are already experienced surfers the 10 weeks is still a great option, but if you’re short of time you can also jump on the 2 week fast track programme if your skill level is already up to scratch. You’ll have a week of enjoying Morocco to start with and the final week includes all your instructor examinations and training.

Pros; Suitable for all levels of surfer, incredible amount of surf breaks, interesting and beautiful local culture, heaps of good Moroccan food, 10 week training or 2 week fast track, cheap flight from the UK, surf camp based right on the beach – walking distance to the waves, great exchange rate

Cons; Single base, not heaps to do if the surfs flat

 

Australia

Australia has a solid place in our heart and for many travellers it’s a great starting point for any adventure or a great spot to explore for an extended period of time. For surfers it’s one of the big bucket list destinations, so it’s the perfect place to train to get into the surf industry!

surf instructor course australia ozOur surf instructor course in Australia is based in New South Wales and you’ll have surf pretty much slap on your doorstep! You’ll soon find yourself in the true Aussie lifestyle – surf, eat, sleep, repeat! The surf camp you’re based at is a big destination for many backpackers too so you’ll make haps of new buddies during your stay.

With coaches on hand you’ll get feedback throughout your trip and over nearly 12 weeks you’ll take your surf skills to the next level and it’ll all culminate in your instructor course, setting you up perfectly to look for work at the many surf schools that call this vast coastline home.

If you can’t fit in the full course or want to simply improve your surfing the 4 and 8 week surf improper experiences are a great alternative too.

Pros; Fits in perfectly with any Australia travels, beach front surf camp, downtime to explore more of Oz, great wa to meet heaps of travellers

Cons; Long haul flight to Australia, single base, not a great exchange rate

 

So there you have it – a quick an easy run down of our 3 surf instructor training destinations – now all you have to decided is which takes your fancy!

As always if you have any questions feel free to chuck us an email anytime!

See you in the lineup!

 

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Over the years the Epic Gap Year Team and our blog ambassadors have bounced all over the globe and experienced heaps of countries, cultures and all round good times. One of the most difficult questions we all get asked though is “what’s your favourite country” – it’s such a tough one to answer and it changes on a monthly basis!

So we decided to take the pressure off a bit and narrow it down to our top 5 countries to travel around

 

Australia

If you’re new to the world of travelling then Oz is always a solid option. The lack of language issues and comforts of home combine with heaps of adventure activities and fellow backpackers to make this one of our favourite places to travel. Spots like Byron Bay and the Great Ocean Road are always high on the to do list, but no matter whether you want to learn to surf, scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef or simply skydive out of a plane Oz caters for every taste…plus a working holiday visa here is the perfect way to earn on the road.

 

Thailand

free diving koh tao thailandIf you’re wanting to get a bit more of a culture shock and get stuck into Asia the Thailand is the perfect place to start. There’s enough exotic sights and smells to give the nomad in you a massive smile but it’s still nicely geared up for backpackers and there’s lots of fellow travellers to meet on the ground. Get your open water course done on Koh Tao, hike in the jungles up in Chang Mai or simply relax on “the beach” in Phi Phi – plus three’s heaps of incredible food to try…massaman curry is our personal favourite!

 

Cambodia

For those looking for a bit more Asian flare Cambodia is a place we highly recommend. It’s jam packed full of history, culture, heaps friendly locals and lots of islands paradises too. Koh Rong is a solid addition to every trip as are the temples of Angkor Wat. Oh and did we mention it’s insanely cheap to travel and live there?!

 

Peru

If you’re heading to South America Peru is an incredible spot to bounce around and explore. Head to Cusco and hike the world famous Inca Trail to Machu Pichu, sip Pisco with the locals, enjoy a home stay on Lake Titicaca or head to Mancora for some heaps good surfing! It’ll be a packed itinerary!

If you’re looking to make the most of your time there why not check out our Learn Spanish in Ecuador experiences and brush up on your local lingo before dropping south and over the border?

 

South Africa

cape town intro package south africa gap year muizenberg epic gap year (5 of 14)Some of our team have just got back from our 10 Week South Africa Surf Adventure and loved it out there. In fact they’re already planning their return! Whether you choose to kick back and enjoy Cape Town for a couple of weeks, sink into the blue cage diving with Great Whites or join a safari in Kruger National Park this beautiful country will keep you busy for a long while – and contrary to what we were expecting when we flew out there it won’t break your budget either!

 

Well those are our top 5 – what countries would you pick?

Chris – aka Bondi – is the man on the ground running the 10 Week Surf Adventure and Surf Instructor Training experiences in South Africa and the 3 Week Mozambique Surf Adventure we offer. He also runs our 2 & 4 Week Indonesia Surf Adventures too, so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff when it comes to epic surf trips!

And since a couple of our team are currently out enjoying the waves with him we thought we’d tear him away from the beach to find out a little bit more about Cape Town, South Africa, barrels and of course what to expect from our surf experiences there…

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So Bondi – let’s get the formalities out of the way, introduce yourself!

I’m from Cape Town with a passion for South Africa and surfing – job done!

 

Obviously surfing is your passion and indeed your career – how did you discover the sport and what keeps you coming back for more?

I actually don’t remember how I discovered the sport as such! When I was 5 my parents moved closed to the beach and we’d swim on weekends. I started standing up on boogie board and on my 8th birthday they bought me a surfboard. Neither of them actually surf themselves though!

I keep coming back for more is the fact that every wave and every session is different, you never know what you’re going to get and ultimately it’s the quest to get better – a longer barrel, a better turn, a bigger air!

 

You’ve travelled all over the world in search of waves – any favourite spots or countries?

Except for South Africa I really enjoyed Mexico – it wasn’t even just the waves, the whole experiences was awesome.

Wave wise Indonesia has an endless supply of spots, Super Suck was the best wave I’d surfed for 8-9 years until I went to Namibia and surfed Skeleton Bay!

 

What’s the single best piece of advice you can give anyone looking at getting into surfing?

Do it for the right reasons – use it to take a break from the daily grind of  life, simply enjoy surfing and appreciate being in the water.

 

You’ve managed to turn your passion into a career which is epic, how do you find mixing work and play?

If I didn’t enjoy my work so much I’d find it really challenging as it cuts into my surf time massively. Luckily I enjoy my job and it has taken me to some amazing places and waves, so it’s working out well so far!

I also make sure when the waves are pumping I take the time out to grab a session just for myself.

 

What opportunities has being a surf coach opened up for you?

I’ve surf coached beginners in 5 different countries now which is always fun. Since then I progressed into a surf guide and run the South Africa trips which has been a great experience.

From there I stepped up to the Level 2 instructor certification and started coaching high performance surfing which another great challenge and it’s great to see your hard work pay off when they win competitions!

 

How long have you been running surf trips out in South Africa?

I ran my first trip in my second year at uni – way back in 2007. I also coach a number of surf teams (and have taken them on to win a couple of national championships) and some of the top juniors from Cape Town which also allows me to travel quite a bit.

I don’t just coach them for surfing though – I aim to help them travel, grow as people and explore the world.

 

What makes the 4 South Africa surf experiences we offer so epic and what can people heading your way expect?

The unparalleled diversity of South Africa sets it apart from other trips – there’s such a range of cultures, waves and activities going on. The landscape is incredible too.

People can expect to meet a lot of interesting and unique people, have a lot of fun and return home with some interesting stories from the road…as well as being solid surfers of course!

 

When it comes to the non surfing side of things what do you always look forward to?

Getting to know the group and seeing how the dynamic becomes such a tight surf crew as they essentially make friends for life is always great to witness

 

For you whats the overall highlight?

My personal highlight are the last few days, where people reflect on their experience and how many people say it’s a life changer, for me that’s a job well done!

 

And finally – any help you can offer to those deciding between simply a surf adventure or the surf instructor training?

The reason that it’s two trips is purely due to the pressure some people feel by including the instructor course. 

I’d always recommend going all in with the instructor examination, it’s easy to achieve after the surf training you go through and it’s always great to walk away from a trip with a internationally recognised qualification – just don’t psyche yourself out about it and remember to enjoy the whole trip.

Plus being a surf coach is an awesome job!

 

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So there it is, you decided to take on surfing. You are ready for a life of watching impatiently the swell, white water, washing machine wipe outs, getting your first green wave, yoga session, cracked lips, burnt nose and ocean hair.

You know already that you have signed up for tired arms, painful back and hours in the water. But let’s face it, it’s all worth it when you catch that wave, just the way you wanted.

You know you are also going for a lifestyle of amazing times in the ocean, late nights, travels and awesome banter. 

Now that you are committed to the sport, time to get yourself a board.

What board? What size? Colours? Shapers? Finish? Fins? Leash? Price? Second hand? New? Online? In a shop?

That’s a lot of questions. So let’s get down to it point by point!

 

Function Over Fashion

You don’t want to go for that pretty 5’2, with the pretty custom design on it.

What’s the bloody point? Ok, it might look awesome when you are driving around with that board on your roof. But when the time comes to get into the water, what are you going to do? 

Consider your height and weight, your abilities and where you want to take your surfing. Don’t know yet? Well that’s ok. One of the pros of going down to an actual surfshop is that you will get people who (in theory) know what they are talking about and will help you decide. Now don’t be the guy who spend hours with the shop assistant getting heaps of advice and then gets it cheaper online. Of course it’s nice to save a few quids, but you also want to think of all these independent surf shops who depend on people’s passions and trust into their knowledge.

 

Think improving your skills. 

Where are you with your surfing? Just getting to stand up? Are you already out of the white wash and paddling for that green wave? Whatever your level, think practical. Think what will actually suit where you are going to surf the most, and what will make you progress. Yes, may be 8-9 months down the line you’ll be ready to upgrade, but plenty of places will take off your hands/exchange your board for something else when you are ready. 

Colours and pretty stuff can be added later!

Don’t worry too much if the board you have in mind is all white and “boring” and not those vibrant colours you see all these cool people shredding the waves with. You can do it yourself! Get some posca and stickers and get creative. Just put some lacquer on top to make it yours.

 

Prices?

Well, anything which is not a shortboard is going to be more expensive. But actually get something out of your board, rather than going for a very optimistic short one because of the price.

Minimals go for around 350 pounds give or take. 6’10 to 7’+ for about the same and more. Check as well if what you are going for includes a bag, fins, leash and depending on the board a tailpad.

Thinking on going on our 10 Week Surf Adventure in South Africa? Get your board down there!

Mine was a 6’10 from Lifestyle surfshop down in Muizeberg, Cape Town for a mere 200 quid for board, bag, fins, tailpad and leash.

 

Size?

Unlike my ex when it comes to surfboards size doesn’t matter – Here is a bit of a breakdown!

 

Longboards tend to be, well, long and big (and quite heavy sometimes too) but have several advantages like suiting most waves and providing an easy paddle out.

Mals/Minimals are the “go to” board especially for beginners, nice and responsive enough, it would be your first choice to start with and progress with. 

Shortboards are very responsive, easy to duck dive with, and suits big waves. And yes, they look heaps cools, but you kind of have to work to get there. So keep surfing and think of them as your reward if that’s where you want to take your surf to.

 

What are you waiting for?

Grab your board, slap on some zinc and get to the surf!

Have a good paddle and let us know about your first board!

 

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ally toullec epic gap year travel blogger

 This is a guest post by blog ambassador Ally Toullec

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We love a good bit of travel and technology here at Epic Gap Year anything that makes travelling easier, more compact and generally adds to the amazing experiences on the road is a hit with us. If you’re looking at heading out on an adventure we definitely recommend you check out some of the following products – a good mix of travel gadgets that have a firm place in the backpacks of most of our team!

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GoPro Camera

The GoPro is our mind is one of the best travel camera out there – especially for people hitting the water. Sure it’s not the best when it comes to functionality but the fact it’s small, robust and totally waterproof (up to 60m which is more than enough for scuba diving or surfing) means we never travel without it! There’s a heap of amazing add ons too which allow you to capture pics and videos in places you’d never dreamed of!

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Headphones

If we ever head off in a rush and forget headphones life on the road totally changes! It’s a simple addition to any bag but having access to music, your own headphones for movies on planes or simply to put them in to deter annoying people chatting to you when you want some alone time investing in a comfortable set is always a wise move.

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Nifty Mini Drive

Keeping a backup of your pics, documents or simply running out of space on your laptop is a huge pain in the ass. The Nifty Mini Drive slots into your Macbook SD slot (yeah sorry Apple only guys!) and provides up to 128GB of extra storage and can be synced as an auto backup using Time Machine. This means plenty of extra space for movies and photos!

Much smaller (it fits seamlessly into your laptop) than an external hard drive as well as being waterproof it’s a great solution for on the road.

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iPhone

Where would we be without the iPhone hey!? Anything that combines products and therefore saves space is all good in our book – and cramming all your music, camera, internet, email and social media into one small package is ideal for anyone on the road. Whats more is you can fill it full of awesome travel apps to make life easier too – like currency convertors, budget help, Skype and heaps more.

…and of course you can book all our Epic Gap Year experience through it too!

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Lifeproof Case

If you’re kitting yourself out with an iPhone then we definitely suggest investing in a Lifeproof Case for it. It’s waterproof and shockproof, meaning your iPhone can join you anywhere on your travels – on the beach, snorkelling or trekking through the mountains!

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Headtorch

Oh the humble headtorch! It’s been a backpacker staple since backpacking began and it still stands the test of time today. Whether you’re experiencing power cuts in Asia or camping in the middle of nowhere having a good headtorch easily accessible in your bag is always a solid shout.

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Padlock

Again, less gadget more seasoned favourite! Having a good padlock in tow will help secure all your essentials – whether you’re padlocking your rucksack zips together or simply using it with a hostel locker it’ll always come in handy.

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Extension Lead

This might seem like an odd addition to the list but trust us – it’ll be needed! You know how you spend lots of dollar on plug adaptors?! Well invest in one of those multi plug extension chords, that way you can charge multiple devices in a single go and only need one adaptor for the wall socket! A simple slice of genius that will also gain you some new friends on the road too!

With A Level results coming out today there will be thousands of people figuring out what to do next – to find a job, to head to university or to take a gap year. It’s a big decision to make when you’re not entirely sure where life is taking you.

We live in an era where university places are limited and tuition fees are the size of small mortgage. A degree doesn’t actually guarantee anything other than a huge amount of debt, 3 years of commitment and a lot of essays – so more and more people are opting to take a gap year, relax and figure out what to do next with their hard earned A Level results.

Ok so you may have guessed that this article will be slightly bias towards the gap year option over university – but trust us, we’ve done both and these are 5 reasons why we genuinely feel a gap year is more useful than a university degree…

 

Real World Experience (Like The Actual Real World!)

University is often viewed as your firsts steps into the ‘real world’. But lets face it a gap year provides the first steps into the actual world. A world away from the comfort of the same town, county, country and even language – it’s the actual world where life isn’t cushioned with student loans, a quick trip home to do your washing or your mum brining you meals to defrost and eat later.

This is the world where you can wake up to a sunrise over centuries old temples, not through the window of a lecture theatre. Where the books you read are how to get to your next physical destination, not theories or equations. Where the people you meet are from a whole different culture, not just a postcode.

A gap year takes it to a whole new level. You are submerged IN the world, not just dipping your toe in the next puddle.

 

Unique Job Opportunities

Sure the whole idea of going to uni is to prepare yourself for a job, but unless you’re living under a rock you’ll be pretty aware of the fact that’s far from a  guarantee and the whole job market thing isn’t ideal right now. A gap year opens up a whole new realm of job prospects that you may not have considered – like becoming a dive master, training to be a surf coach or even a ski instructor.

And these aren’t the type of jobs that require 3 years of essay writing or snoozing in a lesson. They’re on the job, doing something exciting and new or indulging a passion. They leave you with a world recognised qualification AND experience – experience and training that doesn’t cost a fraction of university.

They’re the travelling persons apprenticeships – combining memories that will last a lifetime with a certification that opens up new doorways. 

 

Life Skills

Granted uni teaches you life skills. But again they’re sheltered, nurtured, and pretty flakey. If done correctly a gap year will grow you significantly as a person and quickly help you acquire a deep and practical level of life skills. Things like budgeting, cooking, communication and organisation are all key focuses on a successful gap year and they’re the skills you need to survive in the world today.

Sure you might be able to budget your student loan for 3 months and locate your classroom across campus whilst shovelling instant noodles down your face – but that’s nothing in comparison to trying to negotiate a strange city, in a language you don’t understand, on a shoestring budget whilst deciding which gorgeous and exotic culinary street food to graze on.

When it comes to a gap year these life skills are a natural extension of the experience – if you don’t learn them and put them into practice there is no real fall back, you simply have to cut your trip short and return home.

A gap year puts your money where your mouth is!

 

Less Debt

A few years ago the thought of spending over £10,000 on a year of travel instead of going to university might have seemed crazy. However, these days university fees are ridiculously high and a huge financial burden to people wanting to follow that route. Essentially, you leave with the most expensive piece of paper you will ever own.

The average gap year now costs a fraction of the price of university and most people will save this money up front – returning with no or very little debt. But they’ll also return with friends scattered across the globe, memories that will last a lifetime and an incredible array of stories, having seen, heard and tasted experiences many people couldn’t even imagine. Probably having matured and grown significantly as a person.

And you graduate in flip flops and shorts, not a gown and a cap!

Now that’s a seriously good investment in our eyes.

 

More Employable

The first argument most pro university people will make is that uni makes you employable. Well to some extent yes – but like most things you learn in university this is a theory and can be proven wrong. If you honestly look at it, unless your job specifically requires a certain degree, then going to uni is a 3 year gamble.

In 3 years, if you’re actually driven to get the job, you could probably work your way up from an entry job to your desired position – and in the process you’ll have learnt a lot about the company, your colleagues and how the people who work underneath you operate. You have earnt your place in that job and you have the respect of your peers.

The same is true of a gap year – the skills you learn in both a professional and personal sense make you heaps more attractive to an employer and will command respect.

Here at Epic Gap Year we’d much rather employee someone who has had the drive and determination to save, plan and undertake an adventure off their own back – no matter what the length of time – over someone waving a piece of paper and expecting us to care!

And that’s not just because we are a travel company!

Not only will the gap year applicant stand out more in the pile of CVs, they will no doubt also be the most interesting, the person who will gel as part of a team of mixed individuals, who will think outside the box and who will launch themselves into the task and quickly adapt to changes and challenges.

A gap year doesn’t just make you the person who’s capable of doing the job – a gap year will make you into the person an employer WANTS to do the job.

 

In the end both a university degree and a gap year are useful experiences and both will teach you something. However, I can honestly say I’ve learnt more travelling the world than I ever did at university, that it was a better use of my money and that it has opened up far more doors than my degree ever has.

University may well be the route you ultimately decide to choose and you may do a gap year too – but all too often in the media the gap year is dismissed and under valued.

Don’t let anyone dismiss a gap year and travelling as simply an ‘easy option’. It’s far more valuable than people give it credit for.

Having travelled the world for a number of years (in fact we’re still going strong!) we know that one of the most annoying and stressful parts of life on the road is packing…or more to the point – figuring out WHAT to pack!

So we chatted to our blog ambassadors and ask their advice not what they recommend adding to your kit list – after all they live their lives on the road so they really know what they’re talking about…

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Sam – I never go travelling without my iPod (with highly embarrassing songs on), GoPro and Bikini. Obvs chargers and my phone so I can keep in touch with the world too!

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Ally – Adapter, sunglasses that actually protect your eyes from water reflection, extra phone battery, a comfy jumper, +30 sunscreen, good headphones, bottle opener on key ring, extra socks, conditioner ( I am girl, with a lot of time in the water), a sarong ( so it’s a bag, dress, towel, cover, scarf etc…) and everything packed in a dry bag.

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Macca – The Cushtie pillow is one of my favourite items in the world and I can’t travel without one. It’s a cute little travel pillows that’s great for buses, planes and trains.  Also, it straps nicely to the side of any backpack. A Cushtie pillow comes into its own when you need to kip at an airport or train station.

A “Buff” is a fantastic travelling item. It’s a bit like a snood only thinner and lighter. You can use it as a sweat band, a head band, a bracelet, a neck warmer, an eye mask and as a small pouch to carry things in.

You’ll be surprised at how hard it can be to find a plug while travelling (a lot of hostels don’t have em), so take one with you, especially if you’re looking to wet shave your legs or face every other day. Some sink plugs will fit any sink and it’s worth the investment!

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Stephen –  I don’t pack a tremendous amount of clothing at first. Instead, I have a little money set aside to buy a few items along the way. I always wait until I get to affordable countries in order to keep the cost down.

Why do I do this?!

Well because clothes wear out fast on the road. (At least for me.). This reduces the weight of my pack, and lets me look like I am clean!

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Chris – For me my essential items are always melt in your mouth immodium and spare loo roll for obvious reasons – I’ve never had to use them yet *touch wood* but plenty of my travel buddies have been glad I’ve had it to hand!

Other than that it’s mainly my iPhone – I never travel without it.

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Clelia – The most versatile item I have on my backpack is my sarong. I use it for everything. As head cover, scarf, beach towel, beach dress, bed sheet, stole, long skirt (the list could go on forever). I even used to create a “tent” on a bus ride to separate my seat from the others for more privacy.

Tinted sunblock is definitely my top product! I can’t stand the sun on my face anymore (at 36 I’d rather be white than full of wrinkles! This product is amazing!

Travel cubes – I got 3 sets of different sizes and colors. Totally necessary. I love them and now i couldn’t think of anything more useful than this item. I am able to organize my bag in minutes only because of them. 

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Andrea –  A must-have wherever I’m going is my Mophie phone charging case – it gives you over a whole extra full charge for your battery! I can’t tell you how many times it has saved my phone from dying when I need to look up directions or take a photo of an awesome moment.

Another item I always keep with me is an infinity scarf (this one may be too geared towards women, but men can technically wear them too!). Whether you’re simply chilly, having to cover up to visit a temple, or needing a makeshift bag, this type of a scarf is so handy.

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Nick – Aside from clothing (which varies based on region), I mostly tend to pack electronics. This would include my camera and extra batteries, GoPro, laptop, Kindle, iPhone, and Mophie Juice Pack to keep the phone alive. Anything else I might need I can typically buy on the road.

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Dave – I don’t have a packing list. I just travel with a pair of undies and a small sponge!

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Lauren – A year in and I had never worn a money belt, never found a use for duct tape. I’d yet to take a single anti-malarial tablet, never used a padlock and obviously the umbrella had to go.

In my second year of travel, I also was hippie-fied in Southeast Asia and ended up with a wardrobe of hippie pants and singlets and all kinds of backpacking cliches.

And now, for my third year, I denote the theme to be comfort.

After two years of travel, I’m leaning towards comfort and I now carry many things I’ve missed from home. I have even more clothes, I bought a phone. I carry both books and a Kindle. I’m even carrying two dresses and two pairs of jeans.

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Anything you guys recommend packing or leaving at home – we’d love to hear from you!

As I write this, I am on a bus in the heart of Macedonia. The sun is streaming through the windows.

I’ve got a flat plain for as far as the eye can see of my left, and rolling mountains on my right. Safe to say, life is pretty good right about now, but when isn’t it when you are travelling?

You always hear people say “travelling is the best thing in the world. Just do it.”

If you are sitting on the fence and you are not too sure whether to book a trip or not, here are 10 things you need to know about travelling:

 

1) Travelling is going to change you

I know that sounds like such a cliché statement, but I truly believe travelling changes you for the better. Wherever you decide to go, you can’t help but learn all about the geography, the local history, the local politics. Also, you will learn all about yourself, discovering a new deeper, richer, more understanding and a more tolerable side. Win.

 

2) Not only is travelling going to change you, but it is going to directly benefit those around you

Even if you are only giving a beggar on the street some food and water, they are still directly benefitting from you being there. More specifically, if you decide to do some volunteering while travelling (which I really hope you do; it is awesome), then you really can change people’s lives.

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3) You are going to fall in love at least once while you are travelling

Whether this is falling in love with a particular person or a particular place, it is going to happen and you are going to fall in love while you are travelling. Often this will be when you least suspect it in a place you didn’t think it could happen. Just go with it and enjoy the ride.

 

4) Something is bound to go wrong at some point, an you will learn to accept it very quickly

It is easy to over-romanticise travelling, but something is bound to go wrong at some point, probably because you’ve fucked up somehow, and that’s okay. The good news is, no matter how bad it seems at the time, you will come to accept it very quickly, and the more you travel the more you will take everything in your stride.

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5) It is guaranteed that your plans will change

No matter how much you’ve got everything planned out, even if you’ve pre-booked every single connection, it is still guaranteed that your plans will change, but don’t worry! 99% of the time they will change for a reason and they will change for the better.

 

6) You will make friends for life all around the world

On any trip, especially if you are travelling on your own, the friends you make will be a very rare and a very special breed. You will always have those shared experiences of travelling together doing some random ass shit in some random ass places, and they will have been a part of a very important chapter in your life. Get ready, you are about to make some fantastic friends for life.

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7) At times it feels like you are at the best school on Earth

The things you will learn while travelling will astound you. Forget English, forget maths and science, you are going to learn all about backpacking and travelling, all about other people’s cultures and societies. Honestly, travelling is like going to the best school on Earth.

 

8) Your breath will be taken away on a daily basis

You are going to be travelling to some of the most amazing and most beautiful sites and attractions in the world. Make sure you are prepared because your breath is going to be taken away on a daily basis and you will be left speechless by the beauty surrounding you.

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9) Travelling is no longer seen as a taboo, so just do it

Back in the 90’s, an extended period of travelling was seen as a bit of a taboo, especially when it came to the workplace. In today’s society that’s no longer the case, and an extended period of travelling can been seen as a positive, life-altering experience. Just make sure you can prove why.

 

10) It might just  be the best decision you ever make

Travelling has this was of keeping you in the moment, and it will make you think differently about things, it will put a different perspective on things.

If you are looking for the answer to a question such as “what should I do with my life?” go travelling.

You will find the answer, and it might just be the best decision you ever make.

 

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backpacker macca epic gap year travel blogger

 This is a guest post by blog ambassador Macca

Macca recently, published his first ebook, Your Round the World Trip Planner. Aimed at first-time travellers aged 17 to 35 it’s packed full of advice and information. Your Round the World Trip Planner is everything you need to know before you go, and the best thing about it is it’s free to download. Whether you are travelling after college, after university or in-between jobs, it is designed to give you the confidence to travel the world in style.

 

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Some of our most popular experiences are the open water dive courses in places like Koh Tao or on the Great  Barrier Reef – but what can you expect from your 3/4 day course?

We asked our resident dive expect and blog ambassador Ally to give you a quick run through – she’s a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer so she’s pretty clued up on it all…!

So here is quick guide to your PADI Open Water Diver certification…

 

Scuba diving is very easy and safe, but it does require a bit of a learning curve.
First of all take your time to choose your dive centre, you want to feel comfortable with your instructors and the people in the dive centre. Whether you are hoping between “Koh”’s in Thailand or sampling island life on Gili T, have a look around and sit down with a couple instructors.

Obviously we all want the cheapest deal but you do want to remember that you are paying for your life support underwater here. Choose a dive centre with recognised training agencies clearly displayed at the front such as PADI, that looks clean, organised and care for the environment.

Don’t chose it only because the instructors hanging out the front looks fit. Well, maybe a bit!

Chosen your dive centre? Great, get ready to sign up. Although diving is all fun and games, you do have some paperwork to go through.

You will be asked to fill out a medical to make sure you do not have any pre existing condition which would endanger you, such as asthma. I would recommend to get a dive medical before you go traveling just to make sure, and bring it with you when you sign up! After that follows the usual liability forms and contact details. You are now ready to start your dive theory!

Several options are available to you. If you are short on time during your travels, why not do your dive theory online before you even leave your house?

Once you get to your destination all that will be left for you to do is the practical side of it!

Decided to jump in on a whim? No worries. Your instructor will provide you with a book, which will be yours to keep.

You will be asked to read the 5 chapters, do 5 knowledge reviews, and complete 4 quizzes. Sounds too much? The course is designed for 10 year olds to pass.

Throughout you will be also watching videos matching the chapters from your book in your dive centre classroom before being tested with one final theory exam, and off to the water you go!

Your first session will be what is called a “confined session”, meaning you will be practicing some simple skills in a pool or shallow water on the beach. Skills include taking your first breath, getting used to your gear, swimming 200m or taking your regulator out and putting it back in your month. Your instructor will show you each skill before asking you to repeat it.

All done? Great! Let’s get in the sea..

You will have 4 dives to complete to get your license, generally 2 dives a day. During those dives you will spend some time at the start to practice those skills you learned in confined in the water…and then? Enjoy your dive! Follow your instructor, make some bubbles and discover the oceans. Hopefully you’ll get to see some sharks, turtles, and the infamous “Nemo”.

Hooked already? Well, time to think about your PADI Advanced Open Water then!

See you underwater!

 

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ally toullec epic gap year travel blogger

 This is a guest post by blog ambassador Ally Toullec

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Here at Epic Gap Year we have a massive soft spot for all things Apple – the clean, crisp and simple aesthetic have inspired the way we work and how we set about designing our site.

We wanted to follow suit and make a travel site that ‘just worked’ – that empowered you guys with inspiration, the choice, the information you wanted and the tools to get where you wanted to go.

But by far the biggest influence is the ethos and inspiration of Apples co-founder – the late, great Steve Jobs. He took a garage start up and turned it into the giant it is today. He envisioned the future and he created objects or usability and beauty to redefine technology.

But he was also a man of amazing insight and mantra for how to live life to it’s fullest and we’ve applied many of his wise words to our lifestyles and travels.

So here’s some of our favourites to inspire you to make a change – be it travel or not – and live life without regret…

 

“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”

 

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

 

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

 

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.”

 

“Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

 

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

 

So whether you choose to travel, whether you choose to change career or whether you choose to simply look at life from another angle make sure it’s YOU making the choice.

Life is to short and exciting to coast through it doing what others expect and want you to do.

…we certainly busted out the mould and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

 

Since our team of travellers had hand selected and tested most of our gap year experience we all have our slight favourites!

Don’t get us wrong everything on the site is epic – that’s why they made it onto the site – but there are some that are our pet projects, experiences we really enjoyed ourselves and made sure we made them available for your guys to slot into your travelling adventures.

So every month we’re going to showcase a product and really give you the low down on why we love it and why it should make it onto your travel bucket list – focusing on 3 key points; the location, the experience and our personal highlight from it.

The first product that makes it onto the monthly showcase is one of Chris’ most anticipated bucket list items…

 

The Bali Surf Charter

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The Destination

surf charter boat indonesiaAs any surfer will tell you Indonesia is one of the top surf travel destinations – a network of islands bordered by reefs and pounded by solid ground swell…the perfect setup for a surf mecca. Bali is the hub on which you start and finish this experience and although it’s one of Indonesias most famous destinations it’s the spots you hit outside of Bali that make this trip memorable as it also explores the surf breaks of Lombok and Sumbawa.

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The Experience

I was really worried that I’d built up a surf charter in my head too much, that I had some crazy during ideal in my head and it would fail to deliver, luckily I couldn’t have been further from the truth!

surf charter boat indonesiaOver the course of the week we surfed amazing and empty breaks with only our travel buddies in the lineup, tackling reefs, beaches and points.

The joy of the boat is the fact you live, sleep and eat surf. You travel overnight between spots to make the most of your time in the water and you simply point the boat in the direction of the best spot on the swell and wind.

Jumping into the little tinny boat and being dropped off by the peak was a dream come true – straight out of a surf movie! At the end of the session you simply waved your board in the air and you’d be picked up in the channel, greeted with a chocolate bar and a cold drink and dropped back off on the boat – it was like being surf royalty!

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Personal Highlight

surf charter boat indonesiaIt’s hard to pull out a stand alone highlight as I genuinely had a week of epic surfing! Sat in the lineup surrounded by my newly found surf buddies, laughing and chatting as sets rolled in and the sunset over the palm trees of Lombok is a hard mental image to beat though – it really ticked all the boxes.

If you surf and you really want the ultimate in surf travel I can’t recommend our Bali Surf Charter Boat enough!

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Many people think saving to travel is impossible, but I can tell you from my personal experience that it is easier to save than you might think – in under 2 years, I saved over $27,000 for my around the world trip!

I’m not going to lie at some points it wasn’t easy, but every dollar save was worth the reward – I used this money to scuba dive in Thailand, drink wine watching stunning sunsets in the Greek isle, and for many other priceless experiences.
Here are a few tips to help you save for travel, and if you follow them I know they will help you as well.

 

1) Have a Monthly Goal

Having an amount of cash you want to save each month give saving a purpose, and gives you a number to shoot for. You start asking yourself before each purchase, “Do I really need this, or could I save that money for travel?”

…and put it into context too – instead of a coffee in the UK you could easily cover a nights accommodation, meal and a beer in Indonesia!

Having a monthly goal helps you keep your focus, which is vital in saving for travel.

 

2) Push Yourself

When I was saving I would not only try to reach my monthly goal but surpass it.  Every time I surpassed it I would make that new amount my monthly goal for the next month.

Every month I found ways to save a little more, and before long my monthly goal was double what it was when I started. This also makes saving a game you start trying to beat the amount you saved last month.

 

3) Cut Monthly Expenses

Sit down and make a list of all the money going out of your account every month. Then take another sheet of paper, on this new sheet only place your most vital expenses (car insurance, rent etc.)

After you have your vital expenses separated start slowly cutting out all those expenses that aren’t necessary. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by doing cutting the little things out.

 

4) Save Your Change

Most people hate change! I love it, you can save a lot of money if you keep track of your lose change. After 20 months of saving I cashed in all my change and walked out of the bank with over $1000.

It was an amazing surprise and let me have a few more adventure travel experiences like scuba diving, and mountain trekking.

 

5) Stay Focused

If you keep your focus you will natural do all these other things? That is why keeping your focus in the most important part of saving to travel.  A few ways I kept my focus while saving was looking at pictures of dream destinations, reading awesome travel blogs, and talking to other travellers – basically keep your travel stoke going!

 

These are first a few travel tips to start earing extra cash for you next adventure around the world – and if you need any more advice or help planning you check out our gap year planing help.

 

 

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a-backpackers-tale-stephen

This is a guest post by blog ambassador Stephen Schreck of A Backpackers Tale

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WIN AN OPEN WATER SCUBA DIVE COURSE!

(PLEASE NOTE THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED – BUT YOU CAN STILL SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER USING THE FORM BELOW)

 

To celebrate the launch of Epic Gap Year we’re giving away a scuba dive course on Koh Tao In Thailand, complete with a brand new dive mask and snorkel!

All you have to do to win is sign up for our monthly newsletter – which is packed full of exclusive discounts, news and general travel goodness – and hit “like” on our Facebook page.

So fill in your details below and you’ll automatically be in with a chance of winning – the winner will be announced on July 20
th.

 

SUBSCRIBE AND WIN!

 

* indicates required




dive courses live aboard drive trip barrier reef cairns oz 2

 

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The Small Print;
Includes;
  • Full PADI or SSI Open Water Certification
  • Accommodation throughout your course
  • Competition ends on July 15th 2014 at 09:00GMT
  • Prize value of £180 – no cash alternative offered
  • Prize must be used before 1st July 2015
  • Accommodation is subject to availability 
  • You must be 18 or over
  • Flights, insurance, visas and other travel expenses are not included

“I owned the world that hour as I rode over it. Free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.”

Charles Lindbergh

Getting into skydiving was not really this unreachable goal of mine – it all kind of happened organically.

I have always been obsessed with movement, with flight, with leaping from things and with falling. After trying skydiving when I was 20, I knew that one day I would fly.

It took 9 years for me to revisit the idea when I saw a man leap from a cliff I was rock climbing on in Tonsai, Thailand.

It was called BASE jumping.

I had only seen it in YouTube videos, and on GoPro commericals. But after repelling down the wall, and meeting this group of jumpers…. my life was changed. They were just like me – adventurers, travellers, lovers of life and new experiences, the only difference was…instead of watching other people take the risks, they decided to do it themselves.

 

So I decided I would too.

learning to skydive epic gap year travel

 

And I did. I saved all my money during the winter that year and headed straight to Utah to do my skydiving certification and it was the best decision I ever made.

The people that taught me do not even realize how grateful I am to them. They gave me wings, they gave me a new life. They gave me freedom. I think that people that teach in this industry are the most important to the sport.

They not only give people the tools, and advice that they will need to save thier own lives but they give them the strength and perspective to ignite personal strength within themselves that goes on unlit for so long.

Human flight is achievable and people are out there doing it everyday.

They risk their lives every time they take the leap, but it doesn’t matter because with every fall, they get a tighter grasp on the true beauty of humanity. We are a small small small part of this world, a very small part.  And with every leap we are more and more humbled.

 

learning to skydive epic gap year travel

 

There is nothing like the feeling of free-fall – everything stops for 60 seconds.

Your mind is in a state of tranquilly that is unreachable when your feet are on the ground.

 

There among the clouds, and the birds, and the horizon….I have never felt more at home. I feel comfortable there, the fear has left me….and in it’s place is the most euphoric peaceful sensation in my heart, and in my soul.

 

That is why I jump.

That is the only reason I will do it again, and again and again.

I am small up there, but I am small down here.

The difference is up there, there are no deceptions.

Everything is just as it seems to be.

 

 

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echo giesel my creative drug travel blogger epic gap year

This is a guest post by blog ambassador Giesel Widmer of My Creative Drug

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One of the biggest questions we get in regards to scuba diving and dive courses in Thailand is where is best?

Having spent a large amount of time working and diving in all the locations our team knows how difficult it can be to choose which one to visit – so we though we’d put together a quick low down on each location to hopefully help you decide!

 

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is one of our favourite places in Thailand. This island lives and breathes diving and more people head here for their open water than anywhere else in the world. By day you’ll have the chance to crack on with any level of scuba dive qualification, videography course or marine conservation internship and explore dive sites like the amazing Chumpon Pinnacle – regularly frequented by whale sharks! By night you can kick back in some of the many beach bars or join the infamous Koh Tao pub crawl.

It’s a great island to explore and we highly recommend taking a day trip over to the neighbouring Nang Yuang islands to relax and soak up the gorgeous views.

Pick if – Money is your biggest concern. Tao is the cheapest spot for fun dives, open water and dive master courses.

 

Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi is where out team have spend the most amount of time diving and gaining their own qualifications – and for good reason. There’s a great array of dive sites – and an abundance of amazing marine life. Whether you spend the day with turtles, leopard sharks or trying to find nemo there’s heaps to keep your attention! Scuba diving course on Phi Phi allow you to access a great range of dive sites including the King Cruiser Wreck.

The island itself is just a short hop from Phuket (meaning internal or international flights are easily accessible) and it’s easy to find party or tranquility depending on your mood. A stroll down to the beautiful long beach and the reef tip shark nursery or a venture up to the view point for sunset will fill the mellow days where as beach parties will help you let loose if you choose!

Pick if – You’re on a mid range budget and want a bigger variety of dive sites to choose from than Koh Tao

 

Khao Lak

Although Khao Lak itself is rather quaint and quiet it’s the best base to access the diving jewel of Thailand – the Similan Islands.

This chain of islands (a few hours boat journey from the mainland) is home to some of the best dive sites, conditions and marine life in the area. Spots like Elephant Head Rock, Richelin Rock and Koh Bon West will offer the chance to cruise with whale sharks, manta ray, barracuda, turtles and huge shoals of fish.

For us it’s the best diving we’ve done in Thailand and we can’t wait to go back again!

Pick If – You have a higher budget and want to access some of the best dive spots in Thailand. Our scuba dive live boards and dive master packages all include time in the Similan Islands

 

We hope that gives you a better understanding of where to choose – and if you’re in any doubt drop our team a line and we’ll make sure you end up hitting the water in the best locations for your goals and budget.

 

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Here at Epic Gap Year we love to surf – in fact all of our team enjoy nothing more than to grab a board, hit the waves and forget about work for a bit…no matter how much we love travel!

If you’re looking to learn to surf, have already started or are looking to become a surf instructor here’s 5 easy pointers to help make the most of your session and get ready to paddle out and soak up the surf bum lifestyle…we’ll see you out back!

 

1) Train

Surfing is a pretty demanding sport and no matter how fit you are it can be a struggle to awake the muscles you use during a session! Swim practice is always a solid start as your paddle power will make the difference between catching the wave of the set or flapping around with noodle arms! When it comes to getting to your feet nothing beats a good few burpie repetitions everyday to get your body ready for a session.

 

2) Refine Your ‘Pop’

‘Popping’ (or going from laying down to standing) is the fundamental basic of surfing, without it you’re simply bodyboarding – and you’re cooler than that! Practicing this on dry land will mean you get more from your time in the water and it’s one less thing to think about.

Creating a space under your chest for your front foot, keeping the motion as fluid as possible, soft knees and having your shoulders and bum over your ankles are all key point in a successful pop.

 

3) Practice, Practice, Practice

We can’t stress this enough! Practice is key to any level of surfing! Unlike other sports where the train gin ground is constant (like a football pitch or skate ramp) surfing relies on nature, and mother nature can be pretty inconsistent! The more time you spend in the water the more you’ll learn about how waves operate, which conditions are optimal and most importantly gain confidence. No 2 sessions are the same and no 2 waves in a session are the same – spending time in the water will help you pre empt what may happen and react to what is going on around you in the line up.

 

4) Know Your Limits

Progressing your surfing is all about pushing your comfort zone, but also staying within your limits. Trying to go too big too soon can be dangerous not only for yourself but also other surfers around you. By all means find the extent of you limits but don’t go paddling out at Pipeline after your first lesson! Safety guys, safety!

 

5) Learn The Rules

Along with safety go the rules of surfing, although they’re less rules – more common courtesy! Learning things like the drop in rule, the hierarchy of the lineup and where to paddle out will not only make you a better and safer surfer – it’ll also win you respect which will hopefully result in more waves and some new surf buddies to help you out!

 

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1) First off tell us a little about yourself and you blog?

My name is Stephen Schreck, and I run an adventure travel website A Backpackers Tale. It follows me as I backpack around the world trying to tick off my bucket list. I say, “trying” because one most of my adventures the time crap hits the fan, which is fine because I always get an amusing story out of it.

I also run Traveling With A Camera – which is my backpacking photo blog.

I have been on the road for the last 14 months and will be going forever hopefully. (fingers crossed)

 

2) What are some of your favorite stories over the last year?

Well, I ran with the bulls in Pamplona. IT actually took me three tries to run because I kept getting kicked out for trying to hide my go pro. On the last day, I took no chances and left the go pro in my hostel, and stayed up all night by the bull pen.

The run was one of the most thrilling moments of my life, and something I would definitely do again.

I also did the Mongol Rally, an epic road trip. You drive from England to Mongol in a beat up junker that you grandma would consider to be slow. (Our car’s top speed was about 60mph). This was a great experience because it was different that the normal type of backpacking I do. The Rally gives you so many experiences with locals, border guards, and travelers. I loved the Mongol Rally which is why it is the subject of my first EBook.

 

3) Funniest Story from the Road?

The thing about traveling is a lot of your funny stories aren’t funny at the time. They are “Oh shit” moments that later become funny stories. Like how I am pretty sure my last name helped me get over the Russian Border. On the Mongol Rally we drove the last 7,000 miles without a clutch. That led to some entertaining stories.

 

4) Any scary moments while traveling?

I once had a staring contest with a grizzly in Alaska. That was a little scary, but something I am proud to say I kept my cool about.

 

5) What is one thing you feel most proud about on your travels?

Well, I would have to say becoming a Scuba Diver. Ever since I was a kid I have hated deep water, and just a month ago I started my journey to conquer it by getting my open water diving license. Since then I have fallen in love with the deep. I know have my advance license and have done 18 dives in the last month including a scuba dive live aboard in the Similan Islands, Thailand.

 

6) What do you love so much about traveling?

The more I travel, the more I fall in love with it. I couldn’t imagine going back to my old life, at this point I can’t even remember what that life was like, and I don’t miss it at all.

What I love about traveling is the complete freedom, the sights and the people you meet along the way. Travel strips away a lot of stereotypes, and reinforces a few.

 

7) What are some of your favorite countries?

Last year I powered through countries, 37 in total. That number is way too high for a year. The Mongol Rally was a major reason for such fast travel; sometimes we were driving going a country every couple days.

The thing is I love everywhere I go. Without realizing it, I used to message my family every time I entered a new country, “I love it here” after about twenty times of getting that message my mom wrote back. “You love it everywhere”

I very much believe in slow travel. I like to spend at least a month in a country. I slow traveled Thailand for a couple months. I absolutely love the country, and the diving here is insane! If you like diving, I can’t recommend diving in the Simians enough! It was a huge highlight of my year.
I also like Turkey and recommend it as a good introduction to the Middle East.

Anywhere in Europe is always fine with me, as well.

 

8) What are a few of your favorite things to do when you’re on the road?

Ha, anything that gets my blood pumping. Like I said earlier, I have really fallen in love with scuba diving. I also love mountains. I love adventures, living a little on the edge, and trying new things.

 

9) Give us five things that you want to cross off your bucket list.

Exploring the Galapagos.

Diving in Fiji.

Visiting every country in the world – Hopefully by 2025

Walking the Camino of Santiago.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail.

 

10) What are you future travel plans?

I’m currently am living and working in Australia. I will be here the rest of the year.  In December, I start another year around the world. I am not sure if I am going to start it in Asia, South America, Africa, but I am planning on spending an extensive amount of time on all three continents.

However, when you are traveling nothing is ever certain.

 

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Well it’s been a long time in the making but we’ve finally launched!

Over the last 8 months the Epic Gap Year team have been pooling their collaborative travel knowledge, coding, editing, building and generally stressing the hell out over building the site and bringing you an epic variety of travel experiences!

We’ve launched now though and we can all breathe a sigh of relief (and celebrate with an ice cold mojito!) and allow you to enjoy what we’ve created.

But you’re probably wondering what Epic Gap Year is and who we are!

Basically we’re a travel agency aimed to help you live the dream – it’s run by travellers, for travellers with 3 aims;

 

  • Help you indulge a passion
  • Allow you to learn something new
  • Open up new career paths

 

So if you want to do anything in the above we’ve got you covered! Whether you fancy learning a new language in South America, jumping on a dive charter boat around Thailand or taking your hobby to a new level by becoming an instructor we’ve hand sourced a variety of surf, dive, snow and adventure experiences from around the globe.

We’ve also teamed up with some of our amazing travel blogger friends to keep expanding our portfolio and bring you even more amazing experience over the coming months.

In the meantime have a browse, send us some feedback, have a read about who we are, enjoy our blog and social media channels and start planning your epic adventure.

We hope we can give you the tools to go live the dream.

 

Take it easy

Chris

Epic Gap Year Founder

 

We’ve also got to give a HUGE thanks to the following who have inspired, encouraged, supported and helped us make the site a reality;

Kaeleee for being there at the beginning and putting up with all our anti social hostel time, Scotty for the brainstorming road trip and advice, Jacqui for her amazing support and contacts, Dawn and Tony for their endless cups of tea and all round encouragement, the rest of the Stevens Goffs and Ellis’ for putting up with my alternative way of life, Josh and Little Cribby for all their design work, Jim Eddy Stefan and James for encouraging the initial idea and getting their companies on board, Gijs for all his amazing admin input, Weatherly for keeping me sane with Jack Daniels, everyone I’ve met on the road who have inspired me to keep travelling…sorry if I’ve missed everyone – but anyone who’d listened to me rant, chat or discuss ideas against their will or have helped checked out the site is much appreciated!