The Forgotten Coast
The Weskus is an often forgotten coastline, where birds fly low but hospitality and waves pump high. Where lack of employment, a severe water crisis and social issues remain the problem of the community to resolve.
There is little involvement from the outside. Things are tough and a lack of role models and alternative recreational options for the youth often lead to substance abuse and crime. For kids like these, the ocean can provide a place of refuge, hope and purpose.
Local surf outreach program, Christian Surfers Lamberts Bay is currently the only organisation in Lamberts Bay that aims to involve the youth in nature and the ocean, educating on the importance of taking care of the environment and providing a moral support structure that is geared towards upliftment and support.
According to Francois Engelbrecht, who has been running, Christian Surfers Lamberts Bay since 2008, there was a time when the surf outreach program was flourishing. However, when sponsorship (Wetsuits and Surfboards) dried up the interest from the local youth started to wane and the numbers of attendees dwindled.
Ocean Guardian Workshops
This weekend at the S.A. Longboarding Champs, we had the privelage of meeting Francois along with some of the kids from the Christian Surfers Lamberts Bay outreach program and introducing them to the Ocean Guardian Series that we run.
This ended with Ocean Pledge ambassador and World Longboarding contender, Alfonso Pieters, shared his story of overcoming the odds, from juvenile delinquency to becoming a world surfing competitor and the importance of ocean conservation.
In line with Ocean Pledge’s ethos of giving back, the surfing community at this year’s SA Champs Longboarding event stood behind Ocean Pledge and did just that.
We would like to extend massive kudos to Retail Capital and the passionate efforts of Thea Vorster Olivier who literally moved mountains to supply a truckload of clothes, food and other supplies for the developing youth at the local Nikao Project; to Xpressions on the Beach for donating 16 wetsuits without the blink of an eye; to Wattapac, Rolling Woods, and all the other contributing surfers and their families for garnering more than 40 wetsuits and 5 boards for the local community outreach program.
We hope that this donation will re-inspire some of the local youth to get involved in surfing and choose the ocean as a healthy way of life.