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!

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

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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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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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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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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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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