The Making of Watermen

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Close on five years ago the Unstressed Surf School was formed. It was named after a young surfer who died in a car crash. He went by the name of ‘Unstressed Erik’. No matter the conditions, according to Erik the surf was always on and the waves ‘cooking’. This positive energy was the grounding of the Unstressed and continues even today.

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The Unstressed Surf School is a youth development programme. It has many agendas as these types of programmes do. It is also one of a number in our area attempting to address issues around inequality, health, poverty, education and living conditions, all of which add value.

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But this one has stolen my heart.

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Perhaps it is the innocence of the kids that holds me captive –

their energy and continual resilience despite circumstance. These kids have never known the bright sparkle of a chlorinated swimming pool nor had access to water wings, pool parties and the season’s latest swim wear.

Perhaps it is the joy of watching the teaching process kick in as splashes, kickers and sinkers become swimmers, paddlers and surfers.

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Or perhaps my attachment is grounded in my personal fears and desperate hope for the future of our area and country,

and my belief that cross-cultural engagement is fundamental to the healing process and that sport has no borders.

Certainly all of these ideals play a role but at the end of the day,

another agenda is met, one that allows me to spend hours on end in a beautiful place,

with fabulous, energized kids, doing cool stuff relating to the ocean.

And I get to watch as these kids grow into fine, strong watermen.

 Celebrating the Success of the Unstressed – Dec 2014 /Jan 2015

Current Unstressed Update:  Over the summer the Unstressed Seniors spent time on Chintsa Beach under the supervision of Marc Fennell: Surf Photographer, Instructor, Life Guard Trainer and Superb Waterman. They assisted the Wild Coast Life-guards as a means of introducing these young men to Life-guarding as a potential career. They trained hard, learnt how to use surf ski’s, knee boards and other life-guard equipment and grew in stamina and confidence. This year we plan to continue with this and assist them as they start working towards obtaining their SPA’s (Surf Proficiency Award) – This will allow them to pursue careers related to water safety and training.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Road To Pomene

For Pomene you travel North along the coastal highway of Mozambique and over the Tropic of Capricorn. A right turn takes you onto the Red Road that leads towards the Pomene National Reserve.

The lodge rests on the other side,  liberally spread across a sand spit at the mouth of the Pomene Estuary: on one side the lagoon and on the other, the sea.

We were introduced to Pomene by a South African Champion Angler. An amazing woman who can cast a penn reel into a swirl of ocean with such elegance that one may be forgiven for thinking that she is using a fly rod.

Just before the lodge one passes through the hamlet of Pomene City which provides freshly baked, warm and smoky bread rolls, cold beer, onions, tomatoes, fish and a curio or two.

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Oh yes – and coconuts. Always coconuts.

If the sea has been rough the lodge’s culinary offerings are in line with those of the little village, minus the fish, although fresh crab seems to be fairly consistent.

This is a remote destination,

of excessive beauty.

Flamingoes abound and dugongs are said to live in the estuary waters along with a variety of other birdlife living off the offerings of the mangroves and the critters that take shelter in their shadows.

We didn’t see any dugongs but then the wind was blowing so we were a little distracted,

launching on the low tide next to our water chalet, while our ‘kiting orphans’ looked on.

And when the wind switched direction we headed to the ocean side,

in search of waves…

and rock pools,

while taking time out to explore the abandoned Portuguese hotel laying in ruins on the hill,

now occupied by a wonderer who has taken up residence in a room with a view:

Nothing to disturb him except the odd tourist, turtle, egret or fisherman.

This is a place one longs to return to,

and once there,

never leave.

Celebrating our return to Pomene: Mid 2014