Whenever I think back on all the times I surfed back in Muizenburg, I would always think about all of the great white sharks that lurked in those waters of False Bay. Thankfully, I never seen any while I was surfing, but I would always hear stories about people getting their legs ripped out or unlucky victims being chomped in half while casually swimming in those shores. Whether these stories were fact or completely ridiculous would still make me wonder…what IF? What IF those shark spotters that sit on top of Muizenburg mountain weren’t paying attention, which is completely possible given of how bored they must get up there. But IF there was a hungry shark lurking around, I had a method of making sure I wasn’t the one on the sharks radar for lunch. That method? Just stay in the middle of the crowd. Which means, don’t go out past the furthest surfer and don’t go off where a shark could get me without it getting to another surfer first! Sounds bad but it’s the survival of the fittest! If you ever are trying to look for me while I am surfing, look right in the middle of where everyone is…that’s where I’ll most likely be! 🙂 It’s still unknown if this method actually works and hopefully I won’t ever have to find out. But the reason I’m bringing this up is because I decided to return to Muizenburg and surf some more, but this time bring all the volunteers at Mama Zulu’s: Hanneke, Mieke, Eric, Clara, Gesa, and Chris. None of them have ever surfed before except for Eric who has surfed once or twice and Chris who surfed once when he was eleven. I was happy to teach them a lesson!
We all took a train in the morning of one of the first warmer days since I’ve gotten here to Cape Town and from there we had to wait an hour for the next train and finally took one to Muizenberg. We walked immediately to Dave’s Surf Shack where low and behold, Dave was there! I only met Dave a couple of times back in the day, so I didn’t think he would remember me. And I was correct in that assumption. He asked if we have ever surfed before and that’s when I started to jog his memory a bit. I told him I surfed here a lot last year and was part of IVHQ. I also mentioned names of past volunteers he knew for sure that were always around like Lucy, Tessa, Ansel, Spencer, and Larry. Once we got to talking, then he remembered who I was…I think? 🙂 Anways, he let me know the surf shack is no longer partnered with IVHQ and have both since went their separate ways. IVHQ now has their own surf spot. He was able to give us a discount and asked if the others knew how to surf. No one besides me answered with complete confidence. I told Dave I could give them all a brief lesson, just like Ansel and Linds gave me last year, but he still strongly recommended that the ones who have never touched a surf board in their lives try a proper introductory course. The girls agreed to get a lesson but I told Dave I would teach Chris and Eric. So then we suited up!
As I was changing, I immediately noticed the surf shack has gotten a ton of new wetsuits and loads of new surf boards. Seems like this place is heading into the right direction! We picked our boards and went out to the beach. The girls went with a private instructor while I took the guys to another area and gave them a brief lesson of what I remembered (and it’s not much to be quite honest!) But it was enough for them to brave their first wave in the shark infested waters of False Bay. Once we went into the ocean, I was a bit taken back at how cold the water was. After being in Southeast Asia beaches for three months, I was super used to nice, warm, (sometimes too warm), waters. But it only took a few seconds to get used to it, and the three of us went further along to find the perfect wave. We were all unsuccessful in riding the first couple of waves. It’s been a year since I’ve attempted to surf and it showed. I was rusty! But soon I got the hang of it and was able to stand and ride out a few waves. All I had to do was rediscover my balance on the board. Eric caught some waves and so did Chris, who learned fairly quick. That’s what great teaching does! 😉 I also never thought to see some of the surf kids there from last year either but there they were. One of them, I forget their names, was in the middle of a wave when he spotted me and jumped off his board to come say hi to me. He never expected to see me again! I told him I would be in SA for awhile and I would see them all at the school soon. Afterwards, once I was satisfied with the waves, I went back in the shack to grab my camera. I didn’t bring my GoPro (like an idiot) but still managed to capture some great shots while being EXTREMELY careful with it walking in the water.
After what felt like forever, it was finally my time to shine and Chris came out of the water to capture me on camera as well.
Once we were all finished. We joined the girls on the beach who have just finished their lessons of the surf. I’m not sure how successful they were but they had enough fun where they would all like to comeback and try again! On the beach, we played another exciting round of Ninja and goofed around on the boards.
When we went back to the shack, Dave invited us over to his new coffee place where volunteers can hang out in their free time nearby. We crossed the tracks and walked a few yards when some more kids from the Christian Primary spotted me. One of them was Ashwin who remembered me right off the bat. By the look on his face, he wasn’t expecting to see me walking around again either! We went along and they followed us to a little coffee house dubbed “The Club House” which Dave and his wife runs. He describes it as a place where volunteers from any organization can wind down, relax, and enjoy a hot cup of chocolate and mingle. Part of the Club House was another building Dave bought and renovated. It’s a place where kids who are constantly on the streets can spend their time at. We walked inside and there were sections for computers, arts and crafts, reading, and even a small makeshift gym. It was one of the coolest hangout spots I have ever seen and Dave is still in the process of fixing everything up and making sure everything is put together properly before he starts accepting volunteers to help run the place and teach kids to surf. I thought this was a very neat idea and something than can definitely evolve into much bigger things in due time. Next time I’m around, I’ll take pictures to show everyone who is interested. In the meantime, I assured Dave he’d see us again as I plan on visiting Muizenburg pretty often.
We lost track of time and forgot that Sunday means trains operate on an earlier schedule. We managed to catch the last train to Cape Town but had no choice but to take a taxi back to Kayamandi. There was no train available to Stellenbosch. But since there was seven of us, splitting the cost back home wasn’t such a huge deal. It came to R100 per person which equals about $10.
We ended up getting home later than what we wanted because we had to prepare the Kayamandi kids for their big trip that starts the next day! We had our eight kids: Atha, RiRi, Chester, Mawande, Lupho, Ski, Aphiwe, and Avele on board and they were all pretty primed and pumped for this upcoming adventure! For those of you who donated and are interested, pay attention to the next few posts as I detail our experience day by day. I will also get into describing who these eight individuals are, for you guys to get to know better.
Reaching Out 2 The World finally begins!