Surf Lifeguard? Check!

Luke Geldenhuys

4 years ago in Gap Year


So we’ve made it to Durban, the final leg of our 10 week journey. Durban also marks the business end of our trip for those who have decided to complete the ISA Level 1 Surf Instructor qualification. For the past 7 weeks all involved have put in a huge effort to prepare themselves for this stage and between all the fun and games along the way there has been a serious endeavour to achieve our goal of becoming qualified Surf Instructors. Throughout the trip the group have been partaking in regular swim training sessions as well beach fitness in order to physically prepare themselves for the demands of the qualification.


Durban City as seen from South Beach

Durban City as seen from South Beach


The ISA level 1 Surf Instructor course is broken down into two sections, the Surf Lifeguard and First Aid training and then the Surfing and Surf Instructor module section. As is per usual we got things underway with the Surf Lifeguard and First Aid training courses. These are all non-negotiable as one cannot obtain the qualification without passing all the requirements in each section. When I mentioned earlier that we had been conducting regular swim and beach training sessions throughout the past 7 weeks this is exactly what it was in preparation for.

First up everybody had to pass the dreaded swim test, the Surf Lifeguard requirement is that you’re able to swim 400m front crawl in under 9 minutes, that is the equivalent of 8 lengths of an olympic swimming pool.

Myself and Jarred handed over our very nervous crew to the man who would be running the show for this section whilst in Durban, the ever popular Deon Woodley, a seasoned veteran in the South African Life Saving community.



Once through the pool work it was straight to the beach where everybody was trained by Deon in how to successfully complete multiple rescue scenarios in the ocean as well as become familiar with all the standard lifeguard protocol. After a few days of practicing all the techniques and perfecting their rescues the crew had to simulate rescues on each other in the ocean for their final evaluation on their beach work. The guys seemed to have a lot of fun in this section and performed really well given all the hard work they’d put in during their beach fitness sessions throughout the trip.



With all the physically challenging activities out the way and having everybody perform really well it was time to get to the theory. A couple days of class work with emphasis on CPR and standard protocol in emergency situations, everybody was prepared for their practical assessments, in groups of 3 the guys sat in with Deon and were questioned on how to handle various scenarios whilst practically illustrating their methods and techniques in rescue. A few funny answers and minor corrections made and everybody got through the section alright and are one step closer to becoming qualified Surf Instructors.



So the crew are all officially half-way to becoming qualified Surf Instructors with only a few yet to complete the swim, now there is only the Surfing and Surf module sections to get through before we complete what we’ve all been working so hard towards. A special thank you must be extended to Deon Woodley who as always is a pleasure to learn from and work with, helping ease the nerves of everybody as most were very anxious coming into the course, we had a blast down at the Marine Life Saving Club and were incredibly well looked after and coached throughout.


Surf Lifeguards? CHECK! The whole crew all smiles


Till next time 🙂