Surfing for a better future

Surfpop builds a sustainable future for children and youth from disadvantaged communities around Cape Town through a powerful formula of surfing, education, life coaching and nutrition.

As seen in

Vision

Surfpop aims to give children from South African townships the best chance at living life to the fullest: active, healthy and in touch with nature, who can access sustainable employment after school to truly lift themselves out of poverty and positively impact their community.

Learn more about our mission and vision

Surf Program

Surfing

Surfing to promote mental and physical health and care for nature.

Education

Focused after-school education to improve school performance.

Life coaching

Life coaching to boost resilience, develop life skills and guide towards sustainable employment.

Learn more about our program activities

Building sustainable futures


Surfpop isn’t just a program; we're a second family for youth in need of nurturing — guiding them from childhood through adolescence and beyond. Because we’re in it for the long run, our impact is broad. Just a few impact areas include improved mental health and resilience, better school performance, environmental awareness and sustainable employment.


70

NUMBER OF CHILDREN

1143

SURF LESSONS

212

SWIMMING LESSONS

1003

EDUCATION CLASSES

215

LIFE COACHING WORKSHOPS

55

BEACH CLEAN-UPS

61860

HEALTHY MEALS

13

LEADERBOARD OUTINGS

Volunteer

Volunteer with Surfpop and help us make a positive change in the lives of the children by coaching them in the ocean and mentoring them in our classroom. During your time with us, we offer you awesome services to make you feel at home, explore the Cape peninsula, learn or improve your surfing or find inner peace through yoga! Learn more about our different packages.

Volunteer

Donate

Donate and join the Surfpop tribe! Together we can offer more children from South African township communities a safe and stimulating program after school by introducing them to surfing and the healing power of the ocean, offering them good quality education and guiding them towards their dream future.

Donate

Some words from our volunteers

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Fabienne Noordenbos

Netherlands

I am Fabienne Noordenbos from the Netherlands. My time at Surfpop was an amazing experience. Every day started off with a surf lesson. I started with no experience and the lessons really helped me understand the basics of surfing as fast as possible. The afternoons we spent with the Surfpop children. I loved that I could really make a difference in the class, while the surf was all about having fun: all the kids would light up the second we got in the water. I developed a great connection with all the children. One thing I also loved was how the kids learn a lot about the environment at such a young age, which I think is so important. Besides the volunteer work and the surf lessons, we went on awesome trips. We climbed Table Mountain, saw the penguins up the coast, went free diving and visited Robben Island. I enjoyed every single day at Surfpop and I really appreciate how Surfpop does all these great things for the well-being of all the Surfpop children.

Fabien Key

Germany

Hi, my name is Fabian and I am a 28-year old PhD student from Germany. I took two months of unpaid vacation to support the Surfpop project as a volunteer in 2019. It was one of the best decisions of my life. For me, the project offered the perfect mix between helping children from disadvantaged communities through my involvement and, at the same time, exploring South Africa and Cape Town, while meeting new people from around the world. Surfpop gave me a lot of freedom to bring in my individual skills. From helping the children in the classroom and in the surf to supporting Surfpop as an organisation in many other ways.

Matt Brady

United States

Hi, my name is Matt Brady and I am a traveler from the United States. I found out about Surfpop through a friend who told me only the most amazing things about this program, and after volunteering myself I can say that it truly only exceeded those high expectations. Learning how to surf from the professional instructors was awesome, for they don’t just help by teaching the moves but they really share their love of surfing with you and inspire you to do your best. However, the highlight of the month was getting to know such great kids, both in the classroom and in the waves. Amazing to see how the program had such a positive impact on the children.

Justus van Spaandonck

Netherlands

Hi, I am Justus van Spaandonck from the Netherlands. In my gap year, I wanted to combine something sporty with doing something good for society. Through Surfpop, I found the perfect combination. In the morning, you go surfing with your Surfpop friends, guided by good surf coaches, where you improve your surfing a lot. I could not surf before joining Surfpop and after two months I can say that I am an intermediate surfer. In the afternoon, you help the children from the township at the Surfpop school with their Maths or English or you coach the children in the water during their surf session.

Talea Hywege

Germany

My name is Talea. I’m from Germany and I spent 7 weeks with Surfpop as a volunteer. To be honest, it was one of the best decisions I made to fly all the way to Cape Town and join the Surfpop Family. In those 7 weeks I met the nicest people and made memories I’ll never forget. To have the opportunity to work with the children was a blessing, because they are full of joy and good vibes. Even if you have a tough day, as soon as you see them you have a smile on your face and all the bad energy is gone. And it’s not just about teaching them, they also teach you about life.

Larissa Mathys

Switzerland

Hi, my name is Larissa and I’m from Switzerland. I loved my volunteer experience at Surfpop. Surfpop is run with so much love and passion, which makes this project really unique. From the start, I felt very comfortable and looked forward to every new day. The time was unforgettable for me and went by much too fast. Through the surf lessons I was able to challenge myself and got very enthusiastic about this sport. The volunteer work with the kids in the classroom and the surf was great! Surfpop brings a lot of joy into their lives. I met a lot of great people and incredibly great kids at Surfpop and I am very happy to have been a part of this great community. I would definitely love to come back again.

Anne Marchien Leerink

Netherlands

Hi, my name is Anne and I am from the Netherlands. I volunteered with Surfpop in 2018 and I really enjoyed it! Surfing with the kids was always my favourite part of the day. But also the (surf)trips, English classes, the fundraiser and all other activities where such fun! I was suppose to volunteer for 1 month but I ended up staying 3 months! I was super happy to visit the project again 2020 and meet the new girls who joined the program. I am so happy that I spent my time in Muizenberg with Surfpop and I would recommend it to everyone who loves surfing – or would like to learn surfing!

Jasper Smulders

Netherlands

Hi, my name is Jasper Smulders (21 years) from the Netherlands and I volunteered with Surfpop for two months. Surfpop is a great organization! Every person who works for Surfpop wants to help the children in need. I’m really happy that I could help them for 2 months, I will never forget it! The staff are lovely people, and the kids are full of energy. It is a good combination of surfing, volunteer work and exploring the Cape Town area. I really hope that these kids can grow up actually creating a better life for themselves, better than where they started from. It is tough, but with the love and support of Surfpop and its volunteers I think they can! Surfpop, thanks again for the amazing experience and all the best to you in the future!

Fanny Livijn

Sweden

Hi, my name is Fanny and I’m from Sweden. Volunteering with Surfpop is an experience that will without any doubt last a lifetime. I had some amazing weeks, full of laughing, seeing the most breathtaking places and learning how to surf with the most funny and charismatic children. I got up every morning with a smile on my face. Knowing that I would first have a productive surf lesson with probably Muizenberg’s best surfer and then to seeing the Surfpop children, super stoked on surfing, improving on the board. After some fantastic weeks with Surfpop it was quite clear to see where the children’s joy comes from.

Luca Petroletti

Switzerland

Hi, I’m Luca from Switzerland. My months with Surfpop was an amazing experience! During the surf lessons we learned a lot and my surfing improved so much. In our free time Daniel took us on tours and showed us the nicest places in the area. And then more than everything else it was fun to work with the children and see how they’re improving their skills. Surfpop is a really small and locally connected project, which makes it unique and innovative. I would definitely recommend it and hope to be back soon!

Tessa Klein

Netherlands

Hi my name is Tessa, I’m 24 years old and from the Netherlands. My time with Surfpop was the best experience I had while traveling so far. Spending time with amazing kids, watching them grow in their confidence, improving their surfing, it was all so good! Also, the tours and surf lessons with Bongi were the best! Everyday I think of this amazing Surfpop journey and I am wishing them all the best!

Kaylee Herbst

United States

Hi, my name is Kaylee Herbst (24 years) from the United States. I joined Surfpop for two months as a volunteer. My time with Surfpop has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Coming from the United States with a teaching background, I was stoked to find a program working with children in school and the surf. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I have had to travel to the beautiful country of South Africa and meet people and experience different cultures through Surfpop.

Verena Bartels

Germany

Hi! I am Verena, 21 years old and I‘m from Germany. I was thinking about doing voluntary work for a very long time and now, after I finished my studies, I finally had the time to realise this dream with Surfpop. The work with the kids was so much fun as mostly all of them exude such a vitality, no matter how dark their background is. Giving the children an opportunity for a better life and observing how happy you can make them with surfing was a really great experience. Another amazing benefit while doing good: you have the chance to explore the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounding area with a local. Being part of the Surfpop family does not only mean volunteering, but also discovering another country, learning how to surf and meeting new friends. Thank you Surfpop!

Seri Keller

Switzerland

I am Seri Keller from Switzerland. Being part of the change of the Surfpop children’s lives was an amazing experience. I would definitely recommend this project to anyone who likes children and the ocean. The program had such a positive impact on my life and I would love to go back there one day. I had so much fun spending time with the children, and also learning how to surf and exploring so many beautiful (not touristy) spots around Cape Town. The children reminded me that you don’t need a lot to be happy. And seeing a smile on their faces when we spent time together made me unbelievably happy – it gave me the feeling of being (even if only a small) part of their change. The project is very well organised and you feel that for Daniel, it’s all about the children’s welfare and that is why he also looks well after his volunteers. Thank you so much Surfpop for this unique experience, which I will never forget!

Nadine Kloeze

Netherlands

Hi, I am Nadine from the Netherlands. Having lived in Tanzania the first ten years of my life, I learned at an early age that too many children in Africa grow up in poverty and face daily disparities and sometimes even violence. By volunteering for Surfpop I contributed to a better future for a group of children living in the townships of Cape Town, where life is tough. We surfed with them in the ocean and helped them with English and Maths. It gave so much joy, happiness and laughter! Surfpop was even better than I could have imagined. I also raised funds for Surfpop Foundation to run the program, thanks to my generous friends and family. Having spent time with the children on a daily basis, I really saw the huge positive impact of the program. The love, fun, laughter, and above all the children’s growing confidence and skills make it a wonderful program and experience. Surfpop really helps them to build a better future for themselves.