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#FeelGoodFriday: Surfing out of township life

Surfing is helping children from Dunoon township dream of a different future.

The SAVE Foundation held its annual surf competition at Big Bay on 11 December 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A wave-lover's paradise, Cape Town boasts a healthy surf culture and riders who grace the water with awe-inspiring agility.

But ironically, it's a world far out of reach of many nearby residents, few of whom can swim and even fewer who can even dream of one day being able to afford a surfboard.

A few kilometres inland from Bloubergstrand one such community has however been experiencing the ripple effect that the watersport can have.

Troubled by the social problems in Dunoon and the number of annual drownings in Cape Town, SAVE Foundation founder Carla Ferreira decided to give back.

The Table View resident approached Vissershok Primary School to offer youngsters swimming lessons.

With the help of volunteers, children who successfully progressed could even join the SAVE surf club.

Ferreira says it's all about teaching children there's more to life than township and getting them away from the gangs.

She also hopes the new skills may even save some lives.

"Every year when I look back... we can see how we've impacted the kids'

lives.

They have a new respect for the sea, they have an understanding

of the sea, they understand sea currents. This information they also

teach their siblings and their parents..."

WATCH 13-year-old Dunoon surfer Leon Wagner show off his skills and talk about the impact the programme has had on him.

In 2014 SAVE taught 60 kids to swim and had 15 in the surf club. But Ferreira hopes to cast the net even wider still.

"We would like to start tapping into more schools as the project grows. We're also busy trying to teach younger baby kids that are in our pre-school..."

Through surfing some youngster's have even had the opportunity to travel to Port Elizabeth to compete.

"Three of our kids in their age groups came second and a year ago some of them couldn't even swim," Ferreira says.

SAVE welcomes donations towards boards and wetsuits in order to expand the programme. Visit www.savefoundation.org.za for more information.

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