Surf Strong
99% Rating
(7 Reviews)

Surf Strong

Surf Strong is a youth development organization working on the beautiful beaches of El Salvador. We work with at-risk youth, those that typically pass much of their time in the streets, and teach them to surf. With surfing, they are able to develop their mental, emotional, and physical strength in a safe and secure environment. It is our belief, that by removing these kids from the streets, they have the opportunity to grow in a healthy, balanced way, free from drugs and violence. Surf Strong also introduces our participants into the tourism industry via our surf school, teaching them how to interact and excel within that environment.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Maggie
Female
24 years old
Vermont
Syracuse University

AMAZING!

10/10

I worked at Surf Strong with Sarah and Jerson, for ten days. In that short amount of time I was able to see all the amazing things they were doing, but also there incredible aspirations to do more. Sarah is a great manager, of not only the program but also the residential part of the non-profit. Jerson is a hilarious and kind surf instructor, and they both work extremely well with kids. I would recommend staying at Surf Strong, the accommodations are comfortable, and it will help you get the most out of your experience. During my stay there we taught english at a local youth center, and then taught the children how to surf. Don't worry if you don't have any surfing background, as I didn't either. Jerson will teach you all you need to know! The beach of Playa San Blas, was incredible. It was so beautiful, and safe. The town, La Libertad, where you can go to eat, shop and experience the location culture, also felt very safe. There are different excursion you can go on during your stay at Surf Strong. In no way are you stuck at the program, Sarah is very helpful if you want to travel around to different locations while there. The town El Tunco about 15 minutes away, has more of a night life scene if that is something you are interested in. The work the Sarah and Jerson have been able to complete in 5 months is truly amazing. They are wonderful people, really trying to do there best for the community. Both Sarah and Jerson are easy to talk with, and they both try hard to make personal connections with you. I would highly recommended this program, and I am eager to see what they accomplish in the future.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly for such a new program I have no complaints. If the program had access to both more funding and help, I believe they would be able to grow the program, and accomplish even more than they have been able to.

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Addie
Female
24 years old
St. Albans, Vermont
Clemson University

Trip of a Lifetime!

10/10

I had the opportunity to spend ten days at Surf Strong and I enjoyed every second of it. The staff and other volunteers were incredible and it was such a great feeling to be able to help out not only with the kids in the program but also help around the Surf Strong grounds. Although my Spanish is not the best I was able to teach English to the kids and also some basic surfing. I would highly recommend volunteering to anyone and I would go back myself in a heartbeat.

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Leilani
Female
24 years old
St. Albans, Vermont
Gannon University

Great Experience

9/10

I went down to work at Surf Strong with two of my friends and it was an amazing experience. It was the perfect balance of work and play. We were able to help the program in many different ways, and seeing the impact Surf Strong has on the kids is priceless. Even though our spanish was not the strongest, we were still able to have a lot of fun with the kids we worked with and helped them in the water learning the basics of surfing. We also had plenty of free time to enjoy the area, taking advantage of the free surf lessons and board rentals ourselves. One of the days we weren't working with the kids, we were able to visit an amazing set of waterfalls and went cliff jumping. The whole trip was fantastic, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to go.

How can this program be improved?

This was my first experience volunteering with a program like this, and I was completely satisfied with Surf Strong

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Alexx
Female
24 years old
San Diego

Make a Difference and Make Memories

10/10

Volunteering in El Salvador with surf strong has been without a doubt one of the best things I have ever done. There are a lot of different volunteer groups out there and I wanted to work with a group where I could get a real cultural experience, actually feel helpful, learn Spanish and be able to surf. Surf strong has gone far beyond all my goals and I have gained so much more. The accommodation is really nice and the beach is literally in our backyard. The food is amazing and it's a great variety of local food (pupusas!!) and other meals including some wonderful omelets. As a Volunteer I get to work directly with the children and help teach them to surf along with play games with them in English. I have also gotten to help with creating some lesson plans for the program and I was able to make my own memory game to be a fun way for the children to learn English. There is always plenty to do but the volunteer work is really flexible. If you have an idea for a project you will most likely have the freedom to help see it through. When I wasn't working on projects I had time to explore El Salvador! Even though the country is known for being dangerous I felt very safe the whole time I was here. The country is very beautiful I went on many hikes to places including waterfalls, lakes, and volcanoes. I also had a chance to surf world class waves. As a volunteer board rentals are free and there are a wide range of board sizes so no matter what your surfing level is, it's a great chance to practice. Sarah and Jerson, the founders of surf strong, are two of the most caring, passionate people that you will ever meet. They are also so fun to be around. They have become my family while I have been here. After dinner we normally will stay up late playing card games, chatting or swimming in the pool. I have also been able to meet many other locals and travelers. I came to El Salvador without knowing anyone but I am leaving with lifelong friends. I have gotten so much out of my experience here and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It’s a great chance to be a part of the culture and to really make a difference in the lives of the children here!

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Danielle
Female
42 years old
Burlington, Vermont
Saint Michael's College

Highly Recommend Surf Strong!

10/10

Surf Strong is a great program and the volunteer experience was everything I was looking for. I wanted an authentic cultural experience, and Surf Strong really fit the bill. Sarah and Jerson are such great hosts! They are so passionate about the mission of Surf Strong, and you can tell they are really making a difference in these kids' lives. Some of my greatest memories of the trip were of sitting around the table eating our local meal of tortillas, rice, beans, avocado, listening to Sarah and Jerson speak about the program and the kids, and seeing how they both light right up just talking about the kids and their goals for the program. Right on San Blas beach, the location cannot be beat. It is a quiet location off the beaten path, but with easy access to El Tunco and La Libertad for anything you might need or a more lively social scene. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, with not a cloud in the sky. The beach was clean, the surfing was great, the sunsets were incredible. We went out surfing with the kids several times, and Jerson also gave us a private lesson. I would have to say he is probably the best surf instructor I have come across. The home is gated and I felt very safe the entire trip. The guest rooms were simple, clean, everything you need. Above all, the kids they are working with are just incredible. You can just see how much potential these kids have, they are so smart and eager to learn, and with the supervision and direction that Surf Strong provides, the possibilities are endless. We spent most of our volunteer time with the kids, but we were also able to help with some projects around the property. When we were there, they were also learning to make their own surf wax, refinishing furniture, and brainstorming for how they can build a compost system and start a garden on the property so that they kids can learn to grow healthy food. I highly recommend volunteering with Surf Strong, I can't wait to go back!

Program Listings

El Salvador

Surf Strong
Surf Strong is a surf school and youth center which works with local at-risk youth. We provide surf lessons free of charge to...