Buffalo Bay 10 – 12 August
So you think it is easy taking 13 kids & teenagers camping for a weekend?
Think again. It’s a mission. But if done for the right reasons, it is well worth it!
We left Friemersheim for Buffalo Bay at 4pm on Thusrday, four hours behind schedule… Luckily we still managed to arrive in Buffalo Bay with enough sunlight left to avoid setting up camp in the dark…
We were there for the Ross Taylor Benefit Surf Contest and for some of the kids it was their first time camping!
This contest is a long-weekend-long non-profit volunteer-organized event, run by friends, family and supporters of the late Ross Taylor. Ross died from cancer in 2010 after surviving a shark attack in Buffalo Bay in 1998.
The money raised by this annual event is donated to Hospice, who looked after Ross during the final stages of his fight against cancer.
For more information on the Ross Taylor Event and on Hospice in general, go to:
I would call this an event, rather than just a surf contest, because there is so much more to it than just competition.
theBOMBsurf, a South African surfing magazine, called it “jorlification”… which roughly translates to party-fication 🙂 They were probably referring to the Saturday-night bash, which was an awesome show! Quite a few of The Surfer Kids saw live music and fire dancing there for the first time in their lives…
But, all in all, the Ross Taylor event is about selfless service. ALL the organisers, judges and other helpers are volunteers. The local business community supports the event in terms of sponsorship and, unlike the nature of any conventional contest, this event has a sense of pure camaraderie rather than a competitive edge.
The Surfer Kids had a great weekend! They surfed, played and learnt a lot from the whole experience. They are forming a group now, proud of themselves and proud of one another! Marchall & Duran (under 15 boys) Luciano & Angelo (under 13 boys) Stehpan (under 10 boys) and Jessy (under 15 girls) all performed well in the development divisions and earned places amongst the top three finalists!
But all the kids showed determination beyond what was expected of them. Wilmar and Billy decided to paddle out to the reef, to have a look at what the guys on the SUP’s were doing out there, and they did this out of their own accord! It was the first time that this had happened! Previously I had to paddle with them, otherwise they wouldn’t paddle that far out… Chaneal also put in a stand-out performance! After starting the first heat of the development divisions on Friday morning, I quickly realised that we did not have anyone to calculate the final heat scores! Chaneal wasn’t surfing, due to an injury, and fortunately she is also the smartest girl in her gr.8 class! She calculated every single development heat score under some pressure, for two consecutive days, without even breaking a mental sweat! If you knew where these kids come from, you would understand how impressive that is.
Our food, camping costs and entrance fees were kindly sponsored by Homtini Guest Farm (http://homtini.co.za) and all the kids were given really cool, hand-painted t-shirts to commemorate the weekend! Thank you very much to all the friendly people there!
I had a hecticly-awesome weekend too!
I was asked to run the development divisions of the surf contest! It would have been totally impossible without the help of many good people! Especially Matthew! Shot bru!
The only drawback of the weekend was the weather… For two nights in a row we were pounded by gale force winds, and it was a miracle that our tent and the kids’ tent were still standing on Sunday morning!
The weekend would also have been entirely impossible without the help of Bennie, Unravel Surf Travel Community Outreach Coordinator. He is the father of two Surfer Kids, and he’s been coming with us, and helping with the kids’ surfing, since day one. All the way back in November 2010! Bennie is our main link to the kids and the rest of the community. His wife, Stephnie, and another one of the parents, Antie Selma, also accompanied us for the weekend, to help with the preparation of food. As you could imagine, cooking for 13 kids and feeding them in a camp-site set-up without proper kitchen facilities, is no easy task.
I would also like to thank SUPsistas (www.supsistas.co.za) for their very generous donations towards The Surfer Kids Non-Profit! They donated several good quality second-hand wetsuits and they also made a cash donation towards a surf trailer! (More info on that at the end of this post!)
Last, but most certainly not least, I would like to thank all the organizers and volunteers who made the Ross Taylor event possible! Bret, Nicky, Brain… there are so many more that I will forget most, but you know who you are! Thank you VERY much!!! It is great to see such incredible things happen! I feel privileged to have been a part of it.
There is a sense of community amongst everyone at this event and it is without a doubt very appropriate that The Surfer Kids are a part of it all. It represents everything that we hope to accomplish with our Outreach Surf Program for the kids of Friemersheim.
One of the most important aspects of progression in all spheres of life is the offering and provision of service to others without any thought whatsoever of reward or self-gratification. Selfless service is absolutely fundamental, both from an individual perspective and from the perspective of the entire human race.
Nothing is ever one-sided, so yes, off course, we all have certain individual needs. Obviously we need to make sure that we meet our own needs. We need to look after ourselves and take care of ourselves, but beyond the basics of food, water, shelter, rest, companionship, etc., beyond that, selfless service represents true progress into the higher realms of life.
It seems counter-intuitive in a mid-level self-serving society, but, in reality, service to others is what brings happiness and higher level development. As in the idea of Ubuntu, our humanity is inextricably linked to the humanity of others.
I did not know Ross Taylor personally, but judging from the vibe at a contest held in his memory, I would’ve loved him like a brother.
Yours in surfing, love and life
Unravel Surf Travel
All photos by Jenya Zhivaleva
Current OUTREACH challenges that YOU can help with:
The Surfer Kids Non-Profit are currently looking for donations towards a surf trailer! (Thanks to SUPsistas we have already acquired enough funds to cover about a fifth of a good second-hand trailer!!) A surf trailer will make getting to the beach much, much easier! Currently The Surfer Kids are reliant upon using the Unravel Surf Travel trailer, but often (especially during Surf Tours) that trailer is not available. As you could imagine transporting between 10 – 15 kids to the beach, with their wetsuits and surfboards, is nearly impossible without a surf-trailer.
Also we are looking for any volunteers in the Mossel Bay / Garden Route area to help with transport on weekends. Even if you can only commit to helping out once a month, that will be great! The Surfer Kids live in Friemersheim, which is about 30km’s from the nearest surf-friendly beach at Diaz Beach in Mossel Bay. We will be able to cover basic petrol / diesel costs, although any donations towards that will also be appreciated!
We are also looking to expand our computer literacy program for The Surfer Kids. The primary school in Friemersheim has an up-to-date computer classroom, complete with Internet access, with enough computers for all the kids. But the school does not have a teacher to help the kids take advantage of this opportunity. We need a supervisor / computer teacher. All you would have to do is come in to Friemersheim primary school once or twice a week, and supervise the kids in the classroom and maybe give some basic and informal Internet / computer lessons. (The primary school is in Friemersheim, which is approximately 20km’s outside the town of Great Break River, just off the N2 highway, between George and Mossel Bay)
Send an email to:
if you would like to help with any of these initiatives!
Photos of The Surfer Kids at the Ross Taylor Benefit Surf Contest