Samoan Youth SUP Guide Training

I have a unique opportunity to help the unemployed youth of regional Samoa gain employment without the financial burden associated with moving to the city.

I would like to provide unemployed youth in Regional Samoa with Tour Guide training via unique standup paddleboard tours in and around their own village. To do this we need additional standup paddleboards.

Apart from providing a much needed income to these villages, the youth from each area will run the tour of their customary land (bays, mangroves and rivers), telling the stories only a local could or should tell.

The funding I'm seeking is to buy additional standup paddleboards to allow this project to move forward. Good quality boards are expensive (AUD$1200+) and I've decided to take a leap and reach out to ask for help.

The funds will only be used to purchase standup paddleboards, no funds will be spent on management or administration of the project as this is all being taken on by myself.

As well as practical experience the youth will also have the opportunity to gain a formal qualification in Tour Guiding.  

Initially I will run the tours via Samoa SUP Tours whilst training . When the trainees have sufficient skills and confidence they will run the tours alone. Eventually we would like to have boards stationed at different locations so the guides are able  to take tours outside of the regular scheduled time-slots.

We have different levels of awards: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. The highest level (Platinum) includes all of our tours and fire knife dancing lessons when you visit Samoa. However, every bit counts and anything you can spare will be much appreciated.
If you can not visit Samoa yourself - you may donate your lessons/other rewards to individuals/organisations in country.

Some extra/background information:

Regional Training Program – Samoa SUP Tours

The problem: Youth unemployment in regional Samoa

There is a high rate of youth unemployment in regional Samoa. There is also a difficulty for youth in these areas to gain further education.

For those that move to the city (Apia), wages are very low with the minimum wage being SAT$2.50 an hour or around AUD$1.30. Cost of living is not much different to Australia or NZ.

People can survive on low wages if living on family/customary land – mainly in the villages in regional areas. However, many simply cannot afford to move to Apia for vocational training or even to seek employment.

A Solution: Local Tour Guide Training – private partnership

Some tourism operations in regional areas that provide employment to those that live in the immediate vicinity of the hotel/resort etc. However, they are concentrated in a few areas.

On the other hand, there are many more places that offer secluded bays, rivers and mangroves that are not currently visited – places that are perfect for stand-up paddleboard tours.

We could run paddleboard tours in these areas ourselves; however this does not provide a solution to youth unemployment.

What we want to do is provide training to the youth of these villages so in time they can become the tour guides. Hence expanding the regions where youth can gain training AND employment. The training would be at no cost to the trainee.

The training will be based on the Samoa Qualification Level 2 in Tourism (Tour Guiding), which is around the equivalent of Australian Certificate III.

As well as tour guiding, the trainees will learn basic first aid, and water safety.

In a nutshell:

·       Trainees get free training and great hands on experience all based around their local area.

·       Trainees have an opportunity to gain employment in their local area.

What we need:

The training materials, administration, qualifications will be self-funded by myself at no cost to the trainee. I have the know-how, and will put in the time to make this project a leader in regional sustainability.

We don’t have enough boards. We need boards to take to these locations, run the tours and give the training. Any funds raised through this platform will be for the sole purpose of purchasing boards. The boards required are robust, very stable and of high quality. As such they are expensive at around AUD$1200, not including, shipping, duty, and taxes.

Each extra board could mean 1-5 youth not having to leave their home and family to receive training or employment.

More about Geoff
For those that don't know me I thought I should put a little down about my background in Tourism and my time here in Samoa.

"In Australia Geoff was Assistant Manager at Tangalooma Island Resort and held contracts with the QLD Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), Outback QLD Tourism Association (OQTA), and the Australian College of Outback Tourism.

With just over 8 years based in Samoa, Geoff has worked with the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC), Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA), Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), Samoa Hotels Association (SHA), and Savaii Samoa Tourism Association (SSTA).

Volunteer roles in Samoa include:  Event Manager of the inaugural Alo PaoPao Festival, Logistics and Stage Manager for the Samoana Jazz Festival, Event Manager of the Stan Walker ‘Dream Big’ concert, and co-founder of the Faletalimalo Siva Afi Challenge.

A past Vice President of the Animal Protection Society (APS) of Samoa, current board member of the Martin Hautus Institute of Learning Samoa, and foundation member of the Volunteer Emergency Response Team Samoa (VERTS); Geoff is well known in Samoa’s Hospitality and Tourism sector and a respected member of the community."

 Thank you/Fa'afatai tele lave.


  • Karen P. 
    • $500 
    • 43 mos
  • Carolyn Giblett  
    • $20 
    • 43 mos
  • Michael Hoare  
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
  • Geraldine Pepper 
    • $250 
    • 44 mos
  • Jo and Matt Butler 
    • $1,000 
    • 44 mos


Geoff Cullen 
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