I am a human being and I strive for happiness. Every other human being around me also strives for happiness. I must help them just as they will help me, because ultimately none of us are independent from one another. We are all made from the same atoms which came from the same stars billions of years ago.
Here at Unravel Surf Travel we have been very fortunate indeed! I would like to share our good fortune with you as a way of saying “Thank You!” to each and every person who has ever read this blog.
We are not fortunate because we have “made a success of ourselves”, we are fortunate because the people around us have made us successful, as we try to contribute towards their success. We have only allowed other people to be a part of our lives, they are ones that make what we do a great!
Some of you will remember our excitement when moving to the farm, exactly one year ago. However, as soon as the romantic effect of the house in Paradise Valley wore off, we quickly realised that there are certain basics without which you simply make life difficult for yourself. That house will always be special and I will continue going down there to immerse myself within nature, but we were finally given the opportunity to move into a new house. We are still on the same farm between George and Mossel Bay, but we now have electricity, cellphone reception and internet at home, for the first time in a year.
This does however mean that very soon our previous house in Paradise Valley will be available for rent, directly from the owners, no agency or middle man involved! It is the absolute perfect place for those looking for adventure, romance, healing or the experience of solitude. Furthermore, we (the good people of Unravel Surf Travel) now only live 2km further up the road, so we will be nearby to guide, advise or simply hang out with you while you enjoy the breathtaking beauty of what will always remain an unspoilt valley.
Then, just as our Outreach Funds ran dry, we received a message from Russia. The group of guests who attended our previous Surf Camp in February made a sizeable donation! Enough to keep Unravel Surf Travel Outreach going for a little while longer.
Despite the early onset of winter we made a huge success of the May Surf Camp. Conditions were not always favourable, but the people make the experience, and that is what we did. The guest list was a lot smaller than that of the February Surf Camp but those that did attend had “the best holiday of their lives!” One girl had actually been to some Surf Lessons in the UK and there she did not even manage to stand up. At the end of our Surf Camp she was surfing clean waves and carving her way to the beach in brilliant style!
We also used this opportunity to test the incorporation of English Lessons into our Surf Camps. I honestly never thought I would use my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, (from UCT) but here I was telling stories, looking at and describing photographs and making conversation with Russians, all for the sake of learning English grammar and vocabulary. It was great fun approaching traditional academic work from this innocent angle in such a laid back atmosphere. Needless to say I also learnt quite a few Russian words in the process! Who knows what could happen if we are given the opportunity to diversify our camps and branch into other languages.
And then there is the Outreach Surfer Kids. They warm my heart and heal my past. On the 2nd of May we took The Surfer Kids to their first surfing competition, in Buffalo Bay. And they lived up to the occasion!
Chaneal took first place in the girls division and Marchal 2nd in the boys division. Even Bianca was brave enough to surf one heat. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding (as is common at surf contests) and Bianca’s first heat didn’t count, so she had to surf a second heat straight after the first one and this was just too much for her. We had to leave the water five minutes into the second heat as she was really scared and too nervous to continue. Wilmar made two incredible take off’s and I was very proud to see his determination despite unfavourable circumstances. All the boys except Billy made it into the final, but Billy still managed to win the repercharge final. Duran and Wilmar came 4th and 3rd after Marchal, who came 2nd only because the boy who won the final was on another level entirely. He was paddling into his own waves and doing turns. We are incredibly proud of all the Surfer Kids! Afterwards Jenya told me that when Chaneal won her first heat (to advance into the final) a noticeable murmur went through the crowd of parents. It was an incredible feeling and I think we were as excited as the kids to make such an impression upon the local surf scene. A big Thank You to Southern Cape Board Riders Association for their involvement in organising the contest.
A week later we found a local newspaper (George Herald) at this tiny little farm shop in Friemersheim (the rural township where we do our outreach) and in the sports section they had published a nice little article about the contest, complete with photos of Chaneal accepting the prize for first place. The kids were very excited about this and apparently they ran around the neighbourhood showing the newspaper to everyone!
And just to put the cherry on top of the cake, we were in Jeffrey’s Bay (during the May Surf Camp) over the very same weekend that the Billabong SA Champs were held just down the road at Seal Point in Cape St Francis. As such there were few surfers in J Bay and for the first time, and perhaps the last time, I surfed un-crowded Super Tubes. (The main surf break in Jbay) The waves were mediocre at best, but it was an absolute blessing to surf this legendary spot with only fellow Unravel Surf Travel Partner Reinder and one other J Bay local in the water.
So here we are. Excited about the future and looking forward to the next challenge!
Thank you very much to all!
All Photos by Jenya Zhivaleva
Resourceful Energy Boosts kindly supplied by Reinder Jan Elema
PHOTOS FROM MAY SURF CAMP & BUFFALO BAY NOVICE SURF CONTEST