Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are learning to surf through the Small Steps Surfing initiative.
Durban - Nothing says Christmas in Durban like sun, sea and surf, and that is exactly what surfer Jurgen Jacobs wants disadvantaged children to experience.

Jacobs, who runs the Small Steps Surfing initiative, which he funds himself, wants to teach children the importance of ocean conservation through surfing.

The initiative started with teaching children at Sodwana Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal with the hope it could one day open up new avenues of employment for some of them as surfing instructors, scuba instructors or dive masters, boat skippers or turtle experts.

“This sparked the beginning of Small Steps Surfing where we use funds from our custom surf/adventure/coastal tours to fund our own community outreach programmes such as the one we have in Sodwana Bay,” Jacobs said.

“We run the programme most weekends so as not to interfere with the schooling of the children, and then we try to run daily in the holiday periods.

“In winter we have not been running due to a shortage of rash vests and wetsuits for the kids to use to avoid the cold.”

Now Jacobs said they were looking for donations of board shorts or any swimwear for children of all ages.

“The clothes, collected from the Christmas drive, would be handed to the kids as Christmas gifts at the little Christmas party we host every year.”

A collection point would be set up on Willards Beach in Ballito on December 7 between 8am and 2pm.

Another collection may take place on December 14.

Small Steps Surfing does not accept cash donations as it is not a registered non-profit organisation. However, Jacobs said they could receive equipment donations and give children access to the equipment under their supervision.

“I would actually encourage anyone looking to make a cash donation to please do so to our affiliate and friends at Surfers Not Street Children in Durban as they are in desperate need of funds for their Girls Surf Too programme.

“Other ways of getting involved are to simply keep our planet clean.

“Pick up litter around you and look after our fauna and flora.”

The Mercury