Beyrick and Noluvuyo Mpande from Working on Fire, take on the surf as they took on the fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Beyrick and Noluvuyo Mpande from Working on Fire, take on the surf as they took on the fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Surfing break a perfect thank you for brave Cape firefighters

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Apr 29, 2021

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Cape Town - A group of firefighters, who bravely contributed to the containment of last week’s destructive Table Mountain blaze, were thanked in an extraordinary way on Freedom Day.

Five firefighters were treated to a free surfing lesson at Muizenberg beach by professional surfers - made possible by the coffee company, Ella.

Though not strangers to the waters, for some firefighters it was their first time surfing.

Working on Fire firefighter Noluvuyo Mpande from Khayelitsha said the surf lesson was her first. “It was very challenging, but Beyrick de Vries made it easy for the first-time beginners like us.”

Mpande has been fighting fires for the past 10 years. On the Table Mountain blaze, she said: “It was one of the most difficult fires due to wind and falling trees, but my team managed to put out the fires without any injuries. It's overwhelming the love and support we received from people.”

All-women firefighting crew Team Juliet superintendent Kylie Paul said: “It was absolutely incredible and just what was needed. Just the contrast between fire and water and the mountain and the ocean, it's just a completely different environment. Just to do something completely different, but also to do something so fun and the physicality of it, and the challenge of trying to learn a new skill, was perfect.”

Noluvuyo Mpande, from Working on Fire and Team Juliet, Superintendent, Kylie Paul, take on the surf as they took on the fire. Six firefighters who fought the Table Mountain blaze last week, were being treated to surfing lessons on Freedom Day at Muizenberg beach. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Team Juliet Superintendent, Kylie Paul, take on the surf as they took on the fire. Six firefighters who fought the Table Mountain blaze last week, were being treated to surfing lessons on Freedom Day at Muizenberg beach. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

“It's really the most important thing when the community steps behind us like that and supports us. It's something really special. I saw an elderly lady coming to Newlands Fire Base with a packet with a sandwich she made and a juice and it's going to go to one firefighter with absolute love in mind. That's what it's about for us, serving our community.”

Professional surfer Beyrick Thulani de Vries said this was the first time he had had the pleasure of teaching a group of firefighters.

“Ella and I have a monthly concept called the ‘Ella board meeting’ where we invite outstanding citizens to join us for a surf and shine a light about what they do and how they do it. This month we all agreed that the firefighters deserved a day at the beach and to hang out over a few Ellas.”

De Vries has been surfing professionally for the past 10 years, and 18 years in total.

“It was a very special day for both the firefighters as well as myself. I was thinking how amazing it is that fire, which has brought so much stress for them over the past two weeks, and how water can bring them so much joy (in more ways than one obviously). Just to see them out there with pure joy on their faces will stick with me for a long time.”

Ella chief executive Neil Hellman said: “After all that the firefighters went through last week battling the devastating blaze, we just wanted to express our gratitude by doing something nice for them in turn. Spoiling the brave ladies and men with a morning on the beach and a surf lesson by two of South Africa’s top surfers seemed like a good way to de-stress and have some fun. And seeing their smiles made it so worthwhile.”

Team Juliet Superintendent, Kylie Paul, take on the surf as they took on the fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Beyrick and Noluvuyo Mpande from Working on Fire take on the surf as they took on the fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Noluvuyo Mpande from Working on Fire and Team Juliet Superintendent, Kylie Paul, take on the surf as they took on the fire. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Argus

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