Help city surfer com­pete on the in­ter­na­tional stage

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE -

LO­CAL surfer Al­fonso Peters is un­like any other surf­ing cham­pion: he once slept on the streets, com­mit­ting petty crimes to stay alive.

But, af­ter dis­cov­er­ing surf­ing, he shot up the ranks and, last year, trounced mul­ti­ple South African cham­pion Matthew Moir in the Tiger’s Milk Win­ter Clas­sic long­board­ing cham­pi­onship. Peters is now a surf­ing in­struc­tor at Muizen­berg’s Surfers Cor­ner.

“I have been se­lected to rep­re­sent South Africa at the ISA World Long­board Cham­pi­onships in Wan­ning, China, in Jan­uary.

He’s started a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to raise the R40 000 he needs to travel to China.

“I am ask­ing for your help. No mat­ter how big or small, to back me so I can proudly rep­re­sent South Africa at this event.

“Surf­ing helped me get off the streets. Be­ing se­lected to rep­re­sent my coun­try is some­thing I couldn’t even have dreamt of when I was on the streets, but hard work and ded­i­ca­tion do pay off,” Peters wrote on his GoGetFund­ing post.

Peters was born in Mitchells Plain and moved with his mother and younger sis­ter to Ma­nen­berg af­ter his fa­ther died and they could no longer af­ford their home.

His older brother stayed with his grand­mother, and his older sis­ter with an aunt.

“I was in trou­ble. I wasn’t go­ing to school and started hang­ing out with the wrong friends; they taught me the wrong things,” Peters said.

It was not long be­fore he be­gan com­mit­ting petty crimes and mak­ing a home for him­self on the streets.

“I used to sleep on the streets and come home weeks later. I felt like I had come from a bro­ken home and there was noth­ing for me to go back to,” Peters said.

He later ended up at a shel­ter in Muizen­berg called Beau­ti­ful Gate, and sent to the School of Hope, which gives at-risk and vul­ner­a­ble youth a sec­ond chance at an ed­u­ca­tion.

Peters dis­cov­ered surf­ing through an out­reach pro­gramme run by Surf­shack in Muizen­berg.

“It was just by luck that I signed up. I thought I’d rather just play soc­cer, but then I signed up just to try (surf­ing). I liked it from the start and never looked back,” he said.

“You can just get out there and not worry about a thing. The only thing you worry about is the next wave com­ing. You can be free out there.”

You can sup­port Peters’s bid to rep­re­sent South Africa at the in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion here: https://gogetfund­ing. com/get-al­fonso-to-world-champs-inchina/

PIC­TURE: HENK KRUGER/ANA.

CROWD­FUND­ING: Al­fonso Peters, 28, is look­ing to raise R40 000 so he can com­pete in an in­ter­na­tional surf­ing com­pe­ti­tion in China.

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