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.
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.
But this one has stolen my heart.
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.
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.