Surf Camp Roles
Surf Camps are fully operational businesses and as such need the right staff to make sure they run smoothly. The range of positions available depends on the size of the business, which is (generally) governed by whether they are a local company or an international outfit.
The varieties of locations you can work from are almost endless, from down the road at your local spot to the shores of exotic nations. The choice is yours.
We’ve put together a list of possible roles you could take on working for a Surf Camp:
This is a no brainer. Surf Camps usually have several surf instructor roles to fill each season so that guests have access to insider knowledge on how to get started. The level and experience you require will depend on the level of surfer you’re teaching. For more information on becoming a surf instructor check out this article.
If the Surf Camp is keen to attract more advanced surfers they need experienced Surf Guides to show guests around. You will need to have some decent area knowledge, be able to handle driving in the local arena (Bali anyone?) and possess a patient, friendly demeanour. It pays to be a pretty solid surfer yourself and to be able to assist guests should they find themselves in trouble.
This position comes with added responsibility. Sure you’ll get time to surf and may well be in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but make no mistake - you will need to have previous experience, be able to provide customer service and possess the ability to deal with and solve problems. Often Manager’s will need to wear multiple hats including HR, finance, operations and business development.
Larger Surf Camps or those that have multiple destinations will likely have their own team of marketing communications professionals to help them reach their customers and create meaningful ongoing conversations with them. If you’re a surfer and have a degree in a relevant discipline, this could be the perfect way to marry up your passion and your expertise. The more senior the role and the more people you manage the more experience you will need to have prior to applying. Also note that these roles may not be located at the actual Surf Camps. If the business operates out of the UK for example, that might be where the job is based. It’s best to check just in case.
All good Surf Camps pride themselves on having an awesome culinary offering. Guests will often have surfed twice during the day and will be super hungry as a result of burning all that energy. Experience serving large groups, putting together menus, dealing with varied dietary requirements and early starts would be helpful and if you’ve been in charge of your own kitchen before that would definitely be a bonus. Bear in mind that at smaller camps you may be expected to perform all kitchen jobs by yourself, without staff (or skilled staff) to help you.
Often larger camps will offer yoga lessons for an extra fee to guests to complement their surfing and sooth their tired muscles. The rules on qualifications are sketchy here and some Surf Camps don’t guarantee guests that the teacher has the proper quals for the job. If you are already a yoga instructor, have experience and have completed your registered course this is a big draw card and will work in your favour. What better place to teach than on the beach or by the ocean?!
Big Surf Camps will need a full time receptionist to handle enquiries, bookings, check in or customer sign in, release forms, answering the phone and other general admin duties. This could be a fun way to gain some experience and score perfect waves at the same time as meeting awesome people. It would be helpful if you had previous experience, especially if the Camp is very busy or large and you can expect to be called on out of hours if there’s a problem or someone needs your knowledge and expertise.
Some camps offer full time photography and this can be a great way to hone your craft whilst making some money on the side. Guests tend to be pretty excited about a good shot of them running down the line, pulling their favourite move or catching their first wave so it can be a pretty fulfilling way to spend your working hours.
Set up and take down staff
If Camps are seasonal often there is a two week camp set up to be ready for the season. It goes without saying that at the end of the season everything needs to be packed away until the start of the following season. Several Surf Camps offer free board, food and beers to those that put their backs into helping with this pre and post season prep and it can be a cool way to score a couple of weeks of premium surf for free (not including your flight/travel costs).
Surf Camp set ups vary widely and therefore this list might not be exhaustive so it’s worth chatting to different people about what they have to offer and what they expect from their team members.
Ultimately working for a Surf Camp can be an amazing way to catch more waves and see a new place from the unique perspective of a resident. Be warned, you may become a local in the process.
If you’ve worked in a Surf Camp we’d love to hear about your take on your experience in the comments below!
Posted by: Sarah Price, on December 28, 2015
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Richard Kotch - Surf Photographer
Mick McComas - Red Island Travel Owner
Brian McDonald - Matanivusi Beach Eco Resort Owner
Alena Ehrenbold - Surf Film Director & Freesurfer
Mitch Revs - Artist
Philippa Anderson - WQS Surfer
Brett Levingston - Surf Guide, Lifeguard, Mad Huey
Jonas Claesson - Surf Artist aka Jonas Draws