Volunteer for Surfaid

We’re a non-profit humanitarian organisation whose aim is to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.

The Story

In 1999, physician and surfer Dr Dave Jenkins went on a surf charter to the Mentawai Islands with one goal in mind – to find perfect waves.

What he discovered changed his life …


Thanks for considering volunteering for SurfAid’s field programs. We are stoked that you would choose to spend your time with us. Volunteering is a fantastic way to make a difference, but unfortunately we do not run a volunteer program for a couple of reasons.

Our Development Philosophy
We have always followed a “hand up, not a hand out” philosophy. We follow a model of development assistance that focuses on empowering and supporting local communities to enrich their own lives, and increase their choices and possibilities for realising their potential.

Remote Locations
The places where SurfAid works are isolated and challenging to get to and work in. There is very limited accommodation, often limited food available, and most people only speak the local dialects. Tough conditions for even the most seasoned traveller.

We strongly believe our limited resources are better directed towards employing Indonesian staff and supporting village volunteers with local strategies and solutions.

Volunteer Organisations
You might check out these organisations here. They run well-structured volunteer programs to support international development activities. Good luck with your volunteer activities!


We deliver our programs in the Mentawai Islands, 150km (90 miles) off Indonesia’s West Sumatran coast; Nias Island, 125km (80 miles) off the North Sumatran Coast; and in eastern Indonesia – Sumbawa (since 2013) and Sumba (since 2014). These are ancient cultures and many of the villages where we work are isolated and difficult to access.