Unravel Surf Travel is a partnership between Hermann Vivier and Jenya Zhivaleva, who met one another while studying in Amsterdam in 2008, and married in 2010 in South Africa.
Hermann is from Cape Town, South Africa. He grew up on the west-coast of South Africa and started surfing when he was nine years old, in the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean. He’s been a surfer ever since. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, Film Studies and Philosophy from the University of Cape Town and writes short stories and insight pieces. His website is at: churchofinnerspace.com
Jenya Zhivaleva is from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Jenya holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam with her focus being creativity in business. She’s also been taking photographs professionally since 2010 and has built up an impressive and wide ranging portfolio, including weddings, fashion, portraits, love stories, kids, family and events. Her website is at: yourfotostory.com
They have travelled extensively, both together and independently, they enjoy doing Yoga and are committed toward creating a better world. They live on a farm in the Southern Cape of South Africa.
+27 (0)84 617 0277
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Am I making a positive difference by attending an Unravel Surf Travel Tour?
A: Unravel Surf Travel is a Social Enterprise. We run a Social Business therefore our aim is not only to make profit. We aim to host successful Surf Tours AND maintain our NON-PROFIT Outreach Program ‘The Surfer Kids‘. Please refer to our Outreach Page for more information.
Q: Do I need to have previous surfing experience to join an Unravel Surf Travel Tour?
A: No, there is no required level of surfing ability. We welcome anyone from complete beginners to intermediate level surfers!
Q: Do I need to be physically fit?
A: Ideally you should at least be able to swim. This will make you feel more comfortable in the water. However, you need not go in deep to be able to learn how to surf. Waist high is all that is needed, so we can teach you how to surf even if you cannot swim. You will be under constant supervision and even if you are very unfit you will still experience the joy of surfing as we can and will push you into some waves. However, in order to stand up, even with our help in stabilizing the board, you will need some strength in your arms and legs. As with everything else in life it is good to be fit because ultimately you cannot surf the best waves unless you paddle into and catch them. But it is not absolutely necessary as we can introduce you to surfing as long as you are willing to go into the water, no matter your level of fitness or physical ability.
Q: What can I expect to learn from my very first surfing experience?
A: Many people manage to stand up on the first day of surfing and some people even manage to paddle and catch their own waves on the first day. But all of this depends on your level of fitness, strength and agility. What we can guarantee is that you will learn what it feels like to ride a wave!
Q: Is this a boot-camp? In other words, will you drill us with a rigorous fitness routine?
A: Absolutely not. Our aim is not to get you into a better shape or improve your fitness. Our aim is to introduce you to the beautiful art of surfing, no matter your shape or level of fitness.
Q: Should I be afraid of sharks?
A: No. It is very unlikely that you will encounter any sharks at all. There is a very slight chance because sharks do live in the ocean, it is their habitat and we need to respect that fact. But statistically you are more likely to be struck by lighting than be bitten by a shark. So unless you worry about lighting you shouldn’t worry about sharks. Furthermore we avoid isolated places where medical help is far away and we try, as far as we can, to avoid places where sharks are regularly spotted and known to be. Many surf spots are located within naturally protected coves or bays. They are protected from the open ocean. Furthermore the vast majority of fatal shark attacks are deadly because the victim has no one to help them from the water onto the beach, or, once on the beach, there is no transport and help is still very far away. After the first bite sharks usually realise that you are not a seal or something that they would normally feed on. Sharks very rarely bite a second time. They simply do not eat humans.
Q: What if I want to come but my partner does not because he/she is not interested in surfing?
A: Our surf tours focus primarily on surfing but not only on surfing. We would suggest that your partner comes along and that they try to surf because we can absolutely guarantee that after their first experience they will enjoy surfing! We also offer many other activities. Please refer to our Surf Tours page for more info.
Q: What should I bring along for a Surf Lesson?
Towel, Waterproof sunscreen / sunblock with minimum SPF 30, Change of clothes (in case you get wet), Food, drink & snacks AND At least 2 litres of drinking water, Sandals for the beach (Beach sand can get surprisingly hot!), Warm jacket, Hat, Sunglasses, Bathing suit / shorts
Q: What should I bring along for a Surf Tour?
2 Towels (1 for the beach and 1 for the shower), Waterproof Sunscreen / Sunblock with minimum SPF 30, Sleeping Bag, Toiletries, Pillow, Enough warm clothes, T shirts & shorts, Waterproof jacket (in the unlikely event of a windy or rainy day), Sandals & walking shoes / hiking boots (if you plan on doing serious hikes), Hat, Sunglasses, Bathing suit / shorts, 2 Litre Water Bottle (Which we will fill up for you daily)
Q: What will the food be like on tour?
A: We will have a competent chef on our team who will prepare our food to the highest standard possible. We will not cut corners in providing you with healthy and tasty food. We also cater for vegetarians! As far as possible our food is sourced from local organic farmers and producers!
Q: Can I attend if I am under 18 years old?
A: Yes, provided that you can convince your parents to come with you!
Q: What are the organizers of this camp like? What do they enjoy apart from surfing?
A: We are easy going and open minded people and we enjoy a wide range of adventurous activities. We like to play music and we like to appreciate good music. We enjoy travelling and exploring the unknown. We love to experience new things! We enjoy helping other people! We enjoy sharing skills and understanding. We enjoy the company of people, talking, telling stories and sharing insight, experience and wisdom.
Q: What if I do not want to do any of the extra activities on tour? What if I only want to surf?
A: That’s not a problem. Although transport to and from all extra activities is included, there is no need to attend any of the extra activities if you would prefer surfing.
Q: Can I use the touring equipment to surf or train on my own?
A: Although we cannot accept full responsibility for your safety on our tour, we do want to make sure that your experience with us is a pleasant one. Therefore there will be a minimum of 3 hours of surf training every day under the supervision of a coach. If however you want to surf on your own, you may do so at your own risk.
Q: Do I need to pay for loss and or damages if I break or lose equipment?
A: If there was an instructor / team member present at the time of the incident and it was an accident that you could not have prevented then we will not hold you accountable. However, if loss and or damage is incurred through negligence you will be liable for the repair and / or replacement of the equipment.
Q: Am I allowed to drive the tour vehicles?
A: Under no circumstances are you to drive any of the tour vehicles. If you would like to drive while on tour with us you will need to come in your own vehicle or rent one from a local rental company. We will be able to provide you with the contact details of local car rental companies and help you with the picking up and dropping off a rented vehicle.
Q: Are your Surfing Instructors qualified?
A: All Surfing Instructors have at least 10 years of surfing experience and are also recognized by the International Surfing Association (ISA) as qualified Surf Riding Instructors. This International Surfing Association (ISA) Qualification is the best that can be provided. But more important than professional surfing qualifications is the ability to work with people. No matter one’s level of qualification, if one does not have the ability to work with people and make them feel comfortable, all the surfing experience in the world counts for nothing. So, apart from making sure that our instructors are competent surfers and coaches, we place a lot of emphasis on the instructors’ ability to work with people and recognise their individual needs. Our aim is to help you progress as far as possible in your surfing experience. We do however recognise that you might want to progress at your own pace, therefore our surf instructors are professional and attentive.