Some words from our volunteers

1/3

Fabienne Noordenbos

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.

Fabian Key

Germany

I am a 28-year old PhD student. I took two months of unpaid vacation to support the Surfpop project as a volunteer. 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

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

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

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

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

The Netherlands

I volunteered with Surfpop 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

The Netherlands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Wibien de Zwaan

The Netherlands

I had the best time at Surfpop! The whole program is so special and so cool to be a part of. You build an amazing bond with the kids, who are so welcoming and energetic that it inspires you. I absolutely loved the surfing, I feel like I really made progress. I learned a lot about Cape Town and South-Africa! I really miss all the kids and think about them a lot. Big thanks to the whole Surfpop team for this incredible experience!

Pieternel Bisschops

The Netherlands

This was the most special month I have ever experienced. I loved spending time with the Surfpop kids, they were so happy and energetic all the time. The month I was at Surfpop, I assisted the Surfpop boys in the surf and the class. After a few days, they already felt like they were my brothers. The bond you create with all of the kids is indescribable and unforgettable. And let’s not forget about the surfing! I really improved my surfing because of the lessons. I was happy every single minute this month, thanks to the other volunteers, the team, the kids and the surf!

Sophia Birkigt

Germany

I really enjoyed the two months at Surfpop. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the experiences that I was able to have there. The children are so warm and grateful. It was fun helping them with schoolwork and surfing. While the children learn from you, you also learn from them. For example, to appreciate the little things in life. Besides working with the children, we saw a lot in and around Cape Town. It was also a big highlight for me to learn to surf myself. All in all, it was a great time and I hope to see the Surfpop kids again one day!

Luise Kuebler

Germany

To me it was important to use my gap year between my bachelor’s and master’s degree to do something useful for our world. Preferably, I wanted to work with children, explore and get to know a beautiful and exciting country and have an adventurous time. As I read about Surfpop, I realized that this volunteer project offers it all: to give kids from townships better perspectives on life, to learn how to surf and to support the children whilst surfing in the water, to get in touch with a foreign culture and to explore South Africa, one of the most beautiful countries ever. Now, two months later, the project is already over and I can say that joining Surfpop was the best decision ever! The children won my heart and the other volunteers became friends. Also, I definitely fell in love with South Africa and will be back one time. Take the chance and become part of something great! Join Surfpop and make our world a better place.

Lize Oosterbosch

Belgium

I had an amazing experience at Surfpop! This was the first time that I traveled alone and I was a bit nervous but from the moment I was picked up at the airport I was in good hands. The whole team was so amazing! My surfing skills were very basic at the beginning of the month but I was able to progress a lot by just being in the water as much as possible. You really see a lot of Cape Town during the tours & we also explored a lot on the weekends. In the end, Muizenberg really felt like a new home, I can’t wait to come back!

Rebecca Koester

Germany

My time at Surfpop was a unique experience. I had to wait almost four years before I could finally be there and I had high expectations that were exceeded. The time with the kids was just great. The happy faces in the water and the great progress in learning are thanks to this project. Learning to surf on top of that and getting to know Cape Town and its beautiful area rounded it off so well. Thank you for the great time! What is possible here should be possible for every child from the townships! you are great! cheers 

Rein Langerak

The Netherlands

I had an amazing time at Surfpop in February. I love being in the water a lot. Because of this, Surfpop really attracted me. The surf coaches give great tips that really improve your surf performance. It was great to work with a team of volunteers to guide these children in various areas, letting them experience the joy of water sports, while also teaching them skills such as discipline and self-confidence. This brought happiness to me, and I hope I have passed it on to these children. I would recommend it to anyone! Thank you for this wonderful experience. 

Fay de Vries

The Netherlands

Joining surfpop has been one of the best experiences ever. The bond with the kids is so special, and it made me feel so happy to see them have fun in the water or getting a right answer in the classroom. It didn’t only feel like I had to teach them something, but I felt like I really made friends and also learned something from them. Always keep a smile on your face, even when times are a little harder. I will never forget the kids! The surfpop team also made a big impact on me. To see how much they care and love the kids is a very special thing. It was a beautiful experience that I am very thankful for and I would recommend it to everyone!

Dominic Crede

Germany

Surfpop does an amazing job. It’s unbelievable what Bongi and his staff have created. You can see that the program is a matter of love for everybody involved. I had a great time at Surfpop for about 2 months where we had plenty of time to explore the beautiful area of Cape Town and participate in activities, besides of course taking care of the children. The complete stay was very well organised, basically everything was taken care of. Cape Town was more expensive than I anticipated and you do need to be a bit careful after dark, but I never felt uncomfortable during my stay. Overall it was a great experience and I can’t recommend the program enough! Just good vibes. Thank you Surfpop Team 🙂

Anna Wiltingh

The Netherlands

In 2016, I took part in the Surfpop program as a volunteer. It was really amazing in every way! By participating in the program, I felt I was really making a difference because i could see that the kids at surfpop were so happy, proud and grateful that they where able to surf and learn new things in a safe environment. It was so nice to see those smiles on their faces every day! Also Daniel and his team made sure we felt right at home and had the best time as volunteers. We learned to surf, got to know the culture and the beautiful nature of South Africa during the most wonderful tours. It was an experience I will never forget.

Stefan Vink

The Netherlands

The Surfpop volunteering project is highly recommended for anyone who wants to contribute to the lives of children from townships in Cape Town. It is very valuable to see and experience how the organization is providing the kids opportunities via surfing ánd extra education. Next to this, the project also offers opportunities to see and explore Cape town, which makes it a nice combination of volunteering work and ‘holiday’. It is highly recommended to stay at least 4 weeks at the project. This is mainly because it takes a week or 2 to really bond with the kids and create a connection. It was already very hard for me to say goodbye after 4 weeks.

Bibi van der Krabben

The Netherlands

I had the best time ever at Surfpop!!! The people at Surfpop and the hostel, the other volunteers, the children and the people in Muizenberg itself are so friendly and are always so positive, I immediately felt welcome. The bond you build with the kids is so strong and special that they really become your friends. I miss them so much already…. The surfing was fun every day, I laughed so much in the water with the surf instructors Dan, Babosh and Simli, who also really helped me improve my surfing. Thank you so much to the whole Surfpop team for this unforgettable time that I will never forget 🙂 !!!

Emmelotte Elshove

The Netherlands

Surfpop was everything I expected and more. I loved seeing myself improve in surfing, but also giving back and seeing the kids improve in the their surfing and their school skills. The connection that you build with the children and also the coaches and teachers is really strong. I loved how the days were full and you felt fulfilled every evening. If I could, I would stay for many more months. I am sad to leave, but so glad that I’ve experienced this and I will carry it with me my whole life. Love to the whole Surfpop team <3

Merel Aghina

The Netherlands

My time at Surfpop was amazing and something I will never forget. I loved the surfing and education sessions with the kids; it made me so happy to feel that I was building a connection with them! The surf lessons for me were also amazing and I learned so much in two months. Overall it was an unforgettable experience, I miss it already!