Development a Cornerstone of the Ballito Pro

While the world’s best surfers took to the waves at KwaDukuza’s Willard Beach for the final day of the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill on Sunday July 7, young surfers from local development organisations shared the aquatic stage with them, at the Sea Harvest Surfing South Africa Development Surf Day.

Children from KZN’s iLembe Surf Riders Association (ISRA), Ubuntu Learn to Surf and Swim Club, Sisonke Surf Club and Surfers Not Street Children (SNSC) surfed in a fun ‘Expression Session’ which showcased development and transformation in the sport of surfing.

The children had the opportunity of engaging and surfing with event ambassador Sal Masekela, the son of jazz legend Hugh Masekela. A seasoned surfer, Sal himself is internationally renowned as a voice of action sports, a journalist and musician.

“It has been an amazing experience to surf with so many South African kids that look just like me. It’s great to see them take ownership of the ocean with such passion. Surfing is giving these kids hope, direction and self-esteem, and most especially a sense of identity and pride,” said a highly spirited Sal.

Sal, the founder of Stoked Mentoring in the USA, a non-profit organisation which uses action sports to empower children from underprivileged communities, has spent the past week interacting with similar local NGOs.

As part of his African Surf Adventure, connecting his past, present and future, Sal opened the first community swimming pool in Shaka’s Head, KwaDukuza. The project was undertaken by the KwaDukuza Municipality as part of its commitment to uplift local communities. The pool will be used by the Ubuntu Learn to Surf and Swim Club to teach young children the essential life skill of swimming.

Collette Bundy, event coordinator for the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill said, “The key critical element of this event is the development of surfing for the country, and for the sport of surfing itself.”
The men’s final of the Ballito Pro, the first QS 10 000 Series event of the 2019 season on the World Surf League, was also held on the day, with Brazilian Deivid Silva crowned as the champion.

​By Pierre Tostee and Farzanah Asmal