13 July, 2016 13 July, 2016

Lekker By Die Pro Ouens

Whether they’re buying milk, filling up on petrol or dancing like dumb-asses after a jug of tequila – it’s always a bit of a buzz spotting your surf heroes going about their ‘regular’ biz.

In the good spirit of fluff pieces, we were stoked to spot some of the pro’s at the J-Bay Open hanging out with some local groms from the Rebel surf team. Just another lay day in paradise…

Groms soaking up the sun and the limelight...

Groms soak up the sun and the limelight… Image © Petronal Posthmus

John Florence, Ace Buchan and SA’s Frank Solomon took a group of about 10 Rebel kids surfing at the Point. As if that wasn’t kif enough, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Michel Bourez later joined them for pizza, soccer and sh*ts and giggles on the beach.

The force behind the Rebel surf team is local Rebel Surfboards shaper, Thys Strydom. Thys has been making high quality boards in Jeffrey’s Bay for many years. Not only has Thys been providing local township surfers with surfboards, but he has also been instrumental in helping shape their surfing careers.

Kelly, Michel and Mick hang out on the beach with local groms.

Kelly, Michel and Mick hang out on the beach with local groms. Image © Petronal Posthmus

Ozzy surfer Adrian “Ace” Buchan and J-Bay local and leading figure behind the J-Bay Open, Koffie Jacobs, first took the pros and the grom’s surfing together informally two years ago. Since then, the surf ‘clinic’ has become an annual tradition at the J-Bay Open, stoking out the groms and the pros alike.

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Ace selects the next wave with a local grom.

“It was so much fun surfing with the groms! They have so much talent, which was really great to see at such a young age,” said John Florence waiting for the rest of the gang on the rocks, post-surf. “They were just frothing! They were all hustling and catching so many waves. I was just stoked to try and get them even more amped and motivate them a little.”

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“Today I got burned by John, bru, best day ever!”

Many of the kids come from harsh living environments and have turned to surfing as a form of escapism. The J-Bay surf community has encouraged the kids to compete in the local Grom Game Events and to keep pursuing the life aquatic. Competing aside, to many of these groms, surfing is everything and a surf with the world’s best, in their own backyard, simply added a little more gees.

CJ, a Rebel grom who earned himself the u/11 title at the Billabong Grommet Games this year said “it was so amazing to surf with them and to see up close how good they are and all of their good equipment. I learned a lot but also just had so much fun.”

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Local lighty shows the dude’s how it’s done.

Watching her son rip with the pro’s from the beach was local surf Ma, Petronal Posthmus. “It was just smiles for days!” she said. “It was such an unreal moment for them. And the pros made them feel so special.”

The pros live a life of rockstar proportions. As in any professional sport, travelling around the world as a top dog can often lead one to fall into a wild, ego-feeding lifestyle. It appears that pros are always looking for way to get involved and it’s always pretty refreshing to see them ‘giving back’ in whatever shape or form, to the places they travel and the locals who surf there.

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Ace Buchan gives Zia Hendricks a push that may have propelled her to the shoreline.

In the words of nine year old, two time SA Grom Games champ, Zia Hendricks: “Dit was baie lekker by die pro ouens!”

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Zia Hendricks dropping a shaka like it’s hot.

Here are a few of the other South African Surf Outreach Programmes you can get involved in:

9Miles Project, Cape Town
Waves For Change, Cape Town
Surfer’s Not Street Children, Durban
J-Bay Recycling Project, J-Bay
Aleph Surf International, J-Bay

*Images © Ian Thurtell

1 Comment

  1. Craig Drysdale
    14 July, 2016 at 8:05 am · Reply

    Such a lekker vibe. Little beats a kids smile and stoke. Amazing stuff guys.

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