The Surfer Kids
Proximity JCC Camp to Diaz Beach
Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Although Diaz Beach is not exactly on the doorstep of JCC Camp in Mossel Bay, its proximity has enabled youngsters from this township to join The Surfer Kids Core Surf Program. It is also this proximity that has strengthened and grown this outreach program since its inception ten years ago. By taking a brisk walk of 20 minutes, youngsters from Izinyoka, Asazani and Fairview - (the three areas of JCC Camp) – can receive surf training at Diaz Beach!
The Surfer Kids Core Surf Program realized its long-term goal of surf training to kids from marginalised communities by opening their permanent headquarters at Diaz Beach in April 2016. The program has proven to be sustainable - (under normal, non-lockdown circumstances) - because of being operative the whole year round for five days a week - from Tuesday to Saturday.
Currently, we have 35 children are members of the program, ranging from boys under 7 to girls under 10 and older. These youngsters are recruited into the program with the help of the full-time Community Coordinator Luthando who collaborates with TM Ndanda and Ridgeview Primary Schools. Two of the senior surfer kids attend Indwe Secondary School in KwaNonqaba township.
JCC Camp is fortunate to be situated close to a beach, and more than that, an excellent surfing beach! Although there are many other coastal townships, the beaches along some of these coastlines do not always offer favourable surfing spots. But the premises at Diaz Beach have it all: from good waves for daily surf sessions to easy, close by access for transporting equipment to and from the beach!
The easy walking distance (less than a kilometre as the crow flies) from JCC Camp to Diaz Beach completely removed the need for transport and the limitations it had previously placed on the program.
Starting out ten years ago, The Surfer Kids recruited children from Friemersheim, which is 35km from Diaz Beach. Transporting the children and equipment over this distance was costly and time-consuming and made it impossible to offer the program more than once a week at that stage. The other two townships in Mossel Bay - D’Almeida and KwaNonqaba - is situated respectively 3.6 and 3km from Diaz Beach.
These distances are just too far for youngsters to daily walk to the beach for surf sessions. Formal, safe, and sponsored transport is needed before they can be recruited to the program. In the meantime, the coordinators concentrate on the youngsters from JCC Camp who are enthusiastic and committed to their surfing.
All the young recruits of The Surfer Kids are encouraged to attend the program as often as possible. They are taught how to surf, but in the process, they must learn the true meaning of commitment and dedication. Surfing requires constant and loyal devotion, and no youngster will learn to surf without understanding and applying commitment and dedication.
No doubt, to be able to surf is a huge wave forward for these township kids. Sequentially, this represents a massive opportunity and challenge for The Surfer Kids Program to continue developing, growing, and expanding their operations into as many marginalised communities around Mossel Bay as possible.
After more than ten years of hard work and dedication to keep youngsters off the streets, the founder, Hermann Vivier, and co-workers have witnessed a significant improvement in these kids’ lives. The children are more focused and determined, excelling not only in the water but also at school.
The community and school principals of JCC Camp are super stoked about the Core Surf Program. They keep in touch with coaches Luthando and Sinesipho by giving positive feedback and encouragement. They trust these coaches with their children, knowing that the kids are in save, capable hands.
When the Core Surf Program is active, parents do not have to worry about their youngster's whereabouts, because they will be training and learning whilst having fun and laughter at their Diaz Beach premises. And after a good daily surf session, the youngsters will return home safely, on time, and accompanied by an adult surf coordinator.