NPO nominated for SA Sports Award
Besides teaching them to surf, volunteers help them with their homework and food is provided.
The Surfer Kids, a Mossel Bay non-profit organisation, has been nominated for an SA Sports Award in the category, Recreation Body of the Year.
The nominees were announced on 19 October on the Morning Live Show on SABC2.
The general manager of Surfing South Africa, Robin de Kock, nominated The Surfer Kids in recognition of the "growth and success achieved by the organisation since its inception in 2010".
It is based permanently at Dias Beach and its objective is to “empower marginalised youth through surfing”. The beneficiaries are children from the poorest communities in Mossel Bay.
The Surfer Kids truly goes the extra mile for children. Besides teaching them to surf, volunteers help them with their homework and food is provided.
The other two nominees in the Recreation Body of the Year category are Mbekweni Community Sport and Mavu Sport Development.
The SA Sports Awards have a range of categories including individual male and female sportsmen and women; sportsmen and women with disabilities; national sporting federations; schools; indigenous games; sporting legends and members of the sports media.
The 800m world champion Caster Semenya, Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and boxer Hekkie Budler will vie for the SA Sports Star of the Year award. In the Sportsman of
the Year category, alongside, Hekkie Budler, is the four-time Olympic medallist Chad Le Clos and long jump star Luvo Manyonga.
The Team of the Year category nominees are the Blitzboks, Lions rugby team and the 2018 Cosafa Women's champions Banyana Banyana.
The public can vote for the People’s Choice Sports Star of the Year by visiting www. sasportawards.co.za.
The final winners will be announced at the SA Sports Awards in Mangaung, Free State, on 11 November.
The Surfer Kids founder and chairman Hermann Viviers says: "Our programme operates from Tuesday until Saturday. Children come from the townships - Isinyoka, Isanzane, Fairview - collectively known as JCC Camp.
"They walk to Dias Beach and bring their homework with them. Throughout the year, our first priority is surfing. It takes two to two and a half years until a person can surf unassisted and unsupervised.
"During exam times we do homework with them first and then they surf. We cooperate with the schools in that way.
"We have an urn and we make noodles and sandwiches. We give them apples or bananas and bread with peanut butter and jam. On cold days make Milo.
"At the moment we have 25 surfers. They don't all arrive on the same day. Some have after-school classes. Especially the really small children don't come every day. We recruit children aged seven or eight. Surfboards are donated. We have one surfboard sponsor which provides boards every year. Most are second-hand boards though. Wetsuits are sponsored by Coral Wetsuits in Cape Town. "We get 10 to 15 brand new wetsuits in children's sizes each year. It's hard to get secondhand kids' wetsuits."
Viviers says: "We fund the entire programme. We have volunteers from Europe and North and South America. They pay for the privilege of working for us. "We give them food and accommodation. They pay a fee.
We have four salaried people. Only one of these is fulltime.
None of the children know how to swim when they join the programme.
"We take it very slowly in the beginning. The children spend the first six months playing on the water's edge," Viviers says.
"Then we get them on to a surfboard, with two volunteers per child. By the time they surf on their own, they have learnt to swim."
Viviers says there is a small swimming pool at the premises of the NPO. "We have permission to fix it. It will be a R100 000 operation."
‘We have volunteers from Europe and North and South America. They pay for the privilege of working for us.’
Marchall Nortjé (right) was one of the first to join the surfing programme and remained on board until 2016. Today he is a qualified lifeguard and also works for The Surfer Kids as an instructor. With him is Hermann Viviers.