Being a surf instructor is a great way to make a living both at home and overseas. We have put together some advice for anyone looking to get into the industry.

1Learn to surf to an intermediate level

There are people out there that have gone on Level 1 Surf Instructor courses and not passed simply because their surfing was not at the required standard. Before you enrol onto a course do your research and find out what you will have to demonstrate in the water. Avoid being disappointed!!

 Saltwater Training delivers Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) courses. ASI sets the world standard in surfing instruction and one of the ways it does this is by ensuring their instructors surf to the required standard set by ASI.

2Gain a surf instructor qualification

No reputable surf school will employ you without an instructor qualification. For an instructor qualification to be valid you will also need a lifesaving award.

3Gain a lifesaving qualification

For legal reasons you must hold a valid lifesaving qualification to operate as a surf instructor. Surf Lifesaving Great Britain (SLSGB) created the Surf Coach Safety and Rescue award which is specifically designed for instructors. You cannot work as a beach lifeguard with this qualification.

 If you want to work as a lifeguard then you need the SLSGB Surf Lifeguard award, formally known as the Beach Lifeguard award or NARS. If you meet the fitness criteria for the Surf Lifeguard award we’d suggest you go for it. With this qualification you can work as a lifeguard or an instructor.


Get yourself out there and meet people. Create a good CV and use social media platforms like Linked In.


The market has changed. Surf schools are now teaching stand up paddle, coasteering and kayaking. Get as many strings to your bow as possible, it will create more employment opportunities.

6 – Have good equipment

Being a surf instructor is not without its challenges. You find yourself battling the elements on a regular basis. Invest in a couple of wetsuits if you are working in a cold environment, there’s nothing worse than putting on a wet, cold and sandy wetsuit. If you aren’t comfortable you won’t be happy and your clients will suffer.

7Decide where you want to work

Give yourself the best chance of employment by going where the work is. There are lots of surf schools to choose from all with different styles and personalities. Obviously in places like Devon and Cornwall there are a greater number of schools but don’t be scared to look further afield. There are some amazing places in the UK worth checking out.


 Being a surf instructor is an amazing way to earn money while travelling, make the most of your qualification. There are some incredible surf camps and schools all around the world. Jump on the internet and see for yourself.

9Know the industry

Keeping up to date with the industry is important. Clients will ask questions about everything ranging from the best equipment to buy to travel advice. With internet being so accessible you can keep your finger on the pulse.

10Be professional and motivated

Take pride in what you do, be enthusiastic and treat every lesson like it’s your first. Whether the people you teach go onto to be world class surfers or never go near a surfboard ever again, give people a positive experience that they will never forget.