I am a surfer and I find my peace in the water. On the backline I have healed my heart, decluttered my mind and even fixed my ‘stress shoulder’. I have seen what surfing has done for me and others that find their balance in the salt water. So when I saw a talk by Tim Conibear about the non profit organisation Waves for Change and how he was using surfing for upliftment and healing for kids in disadvantaged communities, I was inspired.
I got in touch and actually walked into Tim on Muizenberg beach one morning while he was walking his dog. He introduced me to Ashleigh Hesse, Programme Manager at W4C, who invited me to Muizenberg. I got to meet the coaches at one of their training days and was impressed at the depth of the work. They were not just there to hand out surfboards and keep kids alive, but to truly make an impact and support these kids in their personal journeys as well.
Waves for Change, also known as W4C was founded by Tim Conibear whose philanthropy started in 2009 after starting a small surfing club at the Masiphumelele Township. Together with local volunteers Apish Tshetsha and Bongani Ndlovu, the trio quickly identified surfing as a productive way to engage youths in sharing their personal challenges and grievances faced within the community.
After pairing up with leading mental health professionals, the team developed a programme known as Surf Therapy, aimed to relieve the emotional and psychological effects of daily exposure to violence and stress. Early surfing lessons showed that participants noted improved feelings of belonging, strength, trust and confidence reducing the risk of anti-social behavior and repetitive cycles of aggression.
For more information about W4C or to find out how you can volunteer, visit W4C - https://www.waves-for-change.org/get-involved/