11 BEST Jobs for Surfers 

If you’re looking for the best jobs for surfers, you’ve come to the right place. 

Anyone who surfs knows that surfing is absolutely enchanting, if not addicting. There is something so BLISSFUL about that feeling of pulling into a wave, and there’s not many other things in life that match that feeling after an EPIC surf session.

Unfortunately, surfing doesn’t pay the bills… Or can it?

If you’ve found yourself wondering if it’s possible to surf more, make money, and still maintain an awesome quality of life, my answer is a resounding YES.

It IS possible to live a lifestyle where you can surf as much as you want, you simply have to make the right choices- and I’m here to offer a little guidance on how to live that lifestyle, by offering up the 11 BEST jobs for surfers!

Different types of jobs for surfers

Different people have different financial and lifestyle needs, and there isn’t really a one size fits all surf job. 

Some people need a more stable, high paying gig to support themselves and a family, pay a mortgage, etc. 

Meanwhile, some people can get by with much much less.

This list contains a pretty wide range of full time careers & gigs, so there should be something for everyone!

Stationary careers

If you’re looking to be rooted to one specific location, you’re likely looking for a stationary career. 

There are plenty of jobs that are both well paying, and will allow you with ample time off to surf at your leisure. 

Seasonal jobs for surfers

If your living situation is flexible, a seasonal surf job might be perfect for you.

To maximize surf time, you can spend for example 6 months out of the year grinding at a seasonal job, and the other 6 traveling the world and hitting your favorite surf spots. 

The good thing about seasonal surf jobs is that they’re pretty friendly towards a surfer’s schedule- meaning even while you’re grinding for those 6 months, if you locate yourself in the right place, you’ll be able to get some quality surf time in. 

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Remote careers

We’re living in a world where you no longer HAVE to work a 9-5 office job for your entire life. 

The remote industry is BOOMING, and there have never been so many incredible opportunities for remote work. 

If you’re a driven entrepreneur, there have never been more opportunities to start your own online business.

If you’re not intrigued by that idea, don’t worry- there are loads of opportunities for remote positions nowadays, from full-time with benefits to freelance/gig work, there is something to suit every lifestyle!

11 best jobs for surfers 

Now that we’ve covered the different categories of surf jobs, I’m going to jump right into my list of the 11 best jobs for surfers!

1. Surf Instructor- one of the best jobs for surfers

  • Type of surf job: Seasonal
  • Pay: $

It’s no surprise that being a surf instructor is one of the best jobs for surfers! I have about 6 years of experience teaching surf lessons, and it really is a dream job. 

Not only do you get to share your love of surfing with people just getting into the sport, but your office is the beach- it doesn’t get much better than that.

How to become a surf instructor

Honestly, becoming a surf instructor is way easier than you might think. From what I’ve found, the easiest way to get a job at a surf school is to simply walk up and introduce yourself to local surf schools, and see if they need any instructors. 

Another way is to reach out to local surf schools via a contact page on their website or social media. 

Pros of being a surf instructor

  • You work in the ocean
  • You work with other surfers
  • You can surf on your lunch breaks

Cons of being a surf instructor

  • You might miss out on a swell because you’re teaching a lesson
  • The pay isn’t great, and a lot of surf towns are pretty pricey, so you might need a second job to pay rent

2. School Teacher- A great job for surfers to travel

  • Type of surf job: Stationary career
  • Pay scale: $$

Another great job for surfers is to become a school teacher! You get weekends, holidays, and SUMMERS off, so you’ll have plenty of time to surf while you’re not in the classroom.

This is a great job for surfers who don’t live in a coastal area. While you’re not going to be able to surf every day, you’ll have enough time off in the summer to go spend 3 months surfing Indonesia, Costa Rica, Australia, or really wherever you want

**With all that said, becoming a school teacher is not a career you should choose just because it’s compatible with a surfing lifestyle. Teachers (at least in the United States) are often severely underpaid, overworked, and under appreciated. 

If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher because you’re passionate about teaching and shaping the minds of the future generations, then that’s awesome, it also happens to be a great job for surfers! **

Pros of being a school teacher

  • Steady income
  • Good benefits 
  • Weekends, holidays, and summers off

Cons of being a school teacher

  • Often underpaid and overworked
  • While you get summers off, you don’t actually get paid during that time

3. Server/Bartender- One of the more popular jobs for surfers

  • Type of surf job: Seasonal
  • Pay scale: $-$$

Being a server/bartender is a great way to make a solid chunk of change relatively quickly. You can work 4 nights a week, make enough money to pay for your rent & expenses*, and then surf all day.

Or, you can get a serving job for a few months, work a ton, save up, and have enough money to spend the rest of the year on a surf trip. 

*Obviously, someone’s rent & expenses could vary greatly depending on a million factors. In this case, I’m talking about a single person in a cheap apartment. This type of job isn’t usually enough money to support a family, especially in an expensive coastal town!

How to become a server/bartender

You pretty much just need to go and apply at a restaurant. Keep in mind, most restaurants won’t hire you right away as a server or bartender, you have to work your way up from host or busser where you usually make a lot less. 

However, some places will hire someone as a server/bartender without experience, you just have to get lucky/ be a quick thinker.

Pros of being a server/bartender

  • Decent pay for what it is
  • Can work nights and have the whole day free to surf

Cons of being a server/bartender

  • No benefits 
  • Emotionally & physically draining
  • Not much room for upward growth (unless you’re interested in management…. But let me tell you, restaurant managers do NOT have free time for surfing)

4. Uber Driver/ Door Dasher- Great gig work for surfers

  • Type of surf job: Seasonal/ Gig work
  • Pay scale: $

If you want to be your own boss, work your own hours, and make a decent amount of money, you might consider driving for Uber, DoorDash, or any other driving/delivery service/ app. 

Uber drivers can easily make a few hundred a night if you live in a metropolitan area. 

If you don’t like the idea of driving strangers around in your car, door dash or a food delivery service is an excellent alternative. 

Since you can make your own hours, you can plan your work hours around the swell/tide… Not many jobs give you that option!

How to become an Uber Driver/ Door Dasher

The biggest thing you need for this job is a car. I know that’s not realistic for everyone, but if you have one, this is a job you can easily do. 

Each company then has its own respective rules, so I’d recommend giving both Uber and DoorDash a look to see exactly what the different requirements are.

Pros of being an Uber Driver/ Door Dasher

  • You get to make your own hours
  • You can work as much or as little as you want 
  • You can time your driving around surf sessions

Cons of being an Uber Drive/ Door Dasher

  • It massively depreciates your car
  • This is really only a realistic option in fairly metropolitan areas
  • It doesn’t pay a ton

5. Freelance Writer- A very surf-friendly career

  • Type of surf job: Remote
  • Pay scale: $-$$$

One of the easiest remote jobs to get started in is becoming a freelance writer. A freelance writer writes content or copy for other people.

I love being a freelance writer, because I’m able to work from anywhere in the world and can bring in money just by working from my computer. 

Most recently, I took a surf trip to Nosara and was able to freelance and make some money while I was there, and I scheduled out my writing time around morning and sunset surf sessions.

Freelance writing is an AWESOME job for surfers because you can do it from anywhere in the world, make your own hours, and work when it is convenient for you.

How to become a freelance writer

Becoming a freelance writer is easier than it sounds, but becoming a WELL PAID freelance writer is a whole different thing. 

If you’re just starting out, you can browse job boards, content agencies, and reach out to popular blogs and websites to see if they’re hiring freelancers. 

Another option is to look for jobs on Upwork and Fiverr, which I don’t really recommend since the pay is not great. 

Pros of being a freelance writer

  • You make your own hours
  • You’re self-employed
  • You can work from anywhere with wifi- including some of your favorite tropical surf spots
  • If you’re experience and land the right clients, you can make a full-time income

Cons of being a freelance writer

  • Low pay when you first start out
  • You have to actually enjoy writing
  • It can be difficult finding well-paying clients

6. Freelance Photographer- One of the best jobs for surfers

Nosara Costa Rica Surf
  • Type of surf job: Remote
  • Pay scale: $-$$$

A freelance photographer is an awesome job for surfers! Especially if you’re into surf photography specifically, as that really combines your passion for surfing and your career.

As a freelance photographer, you essentially make your own hours which leaves plenty of time for surfing.

If you’re a surf photographer, it gets a little more tricky as you’ll have to balance your sessions with the best times to shoot- which often overlap.

Pros of being a freelance photographer

  • Flexible hours 
  • You get paid to do what you love (assuming you love photography… but you really shouldn’t become a freelance photographer if you don’t love photography!)
  • You’re self-employed

Cons of being a freelance photographer

  • There is a steep learning curve
  • Most photographers don’t make any money for YEARS
  • Have to juggle shooting with surfing (if you’re a surf photographer)

7. Blogger- Can be an awesome source of passive income

  • Type of surf job: Remote
  • Pay scale: $-$$$

Growing a successful blog is definitely one of the best jobs for surfers. You make your own hours, can work from anywhere with internet access, and if you do it right, can make a full-time income. 

Some common types of profitable blogs include travel blogs, mommy blogs, gardening blogs, and more. 

Blogs can be monetized a number of ways, but are typically monetized by display ads and affiliates. 

How to become a blogger

To become a blogger, you need to purchase a domain name, start a website, and regularly post useful content. It’s not easy, and most bloggers never make any money from it. 

If you stick with it though, there can be massive payouts- many bloggers earn over $10,000 a month!

Pros of being a blogger

  • Can work from wherever with internet
  • It’s passive income
  • You’re self-employed

Cons of being a blogger

  • You usually don’t make any money the first few years of blogging
  • It’s super hard work getting started

8. Firefighter or EMT

  • Type of surf job: Career
  • Pay scale: $-$$

Firefighters, and EMT’s are fairly popular jobs for surfers- likely due to the on/off nature of shifts. 

For example, you might work a 48 hour shift one week, and have the rest of the week free to do as you wish, including to surf!

Pros of being a firefighter or EMT

  • Good benefits
  • Plenty of time to surf

Cons of being a firefighter or EMT

  • Long shifts aren’t for everyone
  • Can be incredibly dangerous
  • Can be physically and emotionally taxing

9. Remote Employee

  • Type of surf job: Remote
  • Pay scale: $-$$$

In today’s day and age, more and more companies are allowing their employees to go fully remote. What this means is that you can maintain a stable job, but work from anywhere in the world! 

Freedom of location opens up possibilities for you to live in a chill surf town somewhere- as long as you have reliable internet access. 

If you’re in a current full-time position with a company you love, it’s worth asking them if there is an option for you to work remotely. 

If not, there are tons of companies that are hiring for remote employees- just take a look at job boards.

My favorite way to browse for remote positions is to go on the website of some of my favorite surf companies and websites, scroll down to the “career” section, and see if they’re hiring- you might be surprised by how many job opportunities you can find that way.

Pros of being a remote employee

  • Can work from anywhere
  • You’re still maintaining a stable career/ paycheck

Cons of being a remote employee

  • For tax and legal purposes, you may not be allowed to work from certain countries 
  • You may still be locked into specific hours

10. Social Media Manager

  • Type of surf job: Remote
  • Pay scale: $-$$$

Another great remote job for surfers is to become a social media manager. Lots of people are looking for this, and if you like social media, this could be a great job for you.

As a social media manager, you could manage social platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and more. 

You’d also typically be self employed, and could make your own hours and plan to work around your surf sessions- making this a great job for surfers.

Pros of being a social media manager

  • Self-employed and can make your own hours
  • Can work from anywhere with Internet access

Cons of being a social media manager

  • The pay is not great when you first start
  • You need to actually be savvy with social media

11. Tradesman

  • Type of surf job: Career
  • Pay scale: $-$$$

Working a trade like carpentry, construction, electrician, is an extremely valuable position and interestingly enough, a super compatible career with surfing.

It’s not uncommon for many tradesman to work seasonally, and complete all their work for the year over the course of a few months, leaving them with time to spare 

Pros of being a tradesman

  • Good pay
  • Work your own hours

Cons of being a tradesman

  • It can be physically demanding

Final thoughts on the 11 best jobs for surfers

That’s a wrap on my list of the best jobs for surfers! I hope I’ve answered any questions you may have about the best surf careers. 

If you think I may have left something out, or have any thoughts, feel free to drop a comment!

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  1. Beach Lifeguard.

    Los Angeles County Beach Life Guard.
    ( The best in the world )

  2. I work as a surfboard/ all wave craft repair shop and make more money than 80% of your list there!! And work from home doing it with a cranking surf break down the block does that count?

  3. I was a school teacher in California, silicon valley. While yes teachers are underpaid compared to other professions here I found at my six-figure salary did just fine financing my house in Baja. Also was able to surf practically every day after work. I turned my baja house into an Airbnb. And my schedule sometimes allowed me to surf before school. It all depends on where you teach and what you teach, I know that entry level positions in charter schools or private schools can be rough.

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