The Surfer Kids, a non-profit organization founded in South Africa, encourages local youth to overcome fear and explore the wonders of the ocean through surfing.
Hermann Vivier, Chairman of The Surfer Kids, said, “Well the idea is to to teach the kids to do something that that they donʻt generally do, that theyʻre not generally exposed to. So the kids we work with come from a community where water is a very unfamiliar playground. Well itʻs not a playground at all, itʻs something to be feared. So we teach them surfing as a way to get over that, get over that fear and itʻs a very empowering process. Our mission statement is the empowerment of youth from marginalized communities through surfing.”
While in Mossel Bay, the Hōkūleʻa crew along with students from the Kamehameha Schools and Hālau Kū Māna spent a day connecting with these kids.
Hōkūleʻa Crewmember Jenna Ishii said, “At first they were a little fearful about surfing and they just wanted to hold on to you. I think once you gain the trust from them, they just love it. So it was the best way to just get to know the kids. We had our Hawaiian kids out there and then we had the kids from here, from Mossel bay and so weʻre just trying to let them interact with each other and just let them love the ocean and show them how much we love it and make them feel like itʻs really awesome out there, nothing to be scared about.”
Vivier said, “Itʻs cool to see the kids connect with somebody that they donʻt speak the same language, they donʻt know each otherʻs names, they’ve never met before, but then you’ve got this playground, you got the ocean and itʻs just this connection. Itʻs really cool to see people connect like that, not everyday you see that.To see that connection, makes me feel warm inside, but on the outside Iʻm still quite chilly.”