Julian Wilson is one of three contenders for the WSL world surfing title that might be decided this weekend. Photo: WSL/Poullenot

There is something about the salty rigours of the ocean that people find deeply therapeutic.

That’s why ocean lovers of all persuasions, who surf or dive or simply swim, call a session in the ocean ‘Vitamin Sea’.

We have a particularly rich type of Vitamin here, because Cape Town is a world leader in surfing therapy programmes, spearheaded by the likes of Waves For Change as well as the 9 Miles Project, Share the Stoke and Surfshack Outreach, among several others.

They all use the ocean to heal humans. The effect of the ocean on our psyche is a deep and powerful thing.

Differently abled people would agree that they enjoy important physical and psychological benefits from being in the ocean, especially surfing.

Perhaps it’s the fun of the glide or the feeling of accomplishment once you’ve completed a ride.

Perhaps it’s the sinus flush of the sodium chloride in the sea, or other nutrients and substances that cause a stoke-infused chemical reaction with mind and soul.

Take Khangelu Linganiso, aka KG, one of the youngsters surfing in Muizenberg today at the Surf Emporium Surf Lesson and Adaptive Surf Media Experience, where the media has been invited to participate.

When he was eight, KG suffered a brain injury after someone threw a brick through his mother’s car window in the Eastern Cape. He is learning to surf at a weekly learn-to-surf programme at the Surf Emporium, and he loves it.

Noluthando Makalima, aka Thando, has cerebral palsy, but she has blossomed since starting to surf more than three years ago. “Surfing shows me that I am no different to a normal person,” she says proudly.

Grace Anderson, who has what she calls “a congenital abnormality in the right hand and arm”, agrees.

“The ocean levels everybody; whether you’ve been pro for 20 years or just starting out, you’re all waiting for the same waves. If you’ve even considered taking up surfing, all I can say is please give it a go!”

Terminal brain cancer survivor Elsje Neethling comes from a world class swimming family.

Part of her fear was not that she would never walk again, but that she would never be able to swim again. Her life changed when she started surfing in June.

Former national surfing champion Roxy Davis has organised with celebrities and media influencers to pair off with adaptive surfers and members of the national adaptive surf team who will be on their way to California for the World Championships in December.

The catch is that they have to surf like them! Cricketer Morné Morkel pairs up with Neethling, comedian Nik Rabinowitz will surf with Danie Nel, who will surf for South Africa in the AS-4 category (prone).

Later in the day, Ant Smyth, recent gold medal winner at the US Open Adaptive Surfing Champs in the USA, will be surfing with Dr Michael Mol.

See you at the beach!

World Champ Decider

Gabriel Medina may be the world champion before the weekend is out if he wins the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal currently underway at the surf spot Peniche. He needs to win, but also needs Australian Julian Wilson to drop out before the semi-final.

If Wilson makes the semis or Medina doesn’t win, the race heads to Pipeline in Hawaii where three surfers – Medina, Wilson and Filipe Toledo – are in with a chance.

Harvesting the Youth

The 2018 Sea Harvest WC Interschools Championships, presented by Surf Emporium, takes place in Muizenberg on Sunday, November 4. W Cape junior and senior schools may enter a team of up to five surfers. Entry is free. Info: [email protected]

Weather Tip

A near-gale SE wind pummels the Western Cape today, with the solid 8-10’ groundswell rapidly getting a salty snotklap as it breaks into the teeth of the breeze. Muizenberg is awash with onshore and messy surf.

Tomorrow, the wind calms down a bit, but still blowing fresh to strong by afternoon.

The swell has dropped on the west side, but in False Bay, there is a lot of 4-6’+ groundswell and windswell and there may be contour conditions at certain spots.



Weekend Argus