The Heart Behind Surf4Life

May 30, 2019 4 min read

The Heart Behind Surf4Life

It feels so good to give or just to promote the awesomeness of surfing as a sport and lifestyle. This year RYD became part of something bigger. By supporting and sponsoring Surf4Life we help shape dreams into a reality and build the local community - all for the love of surfing.

Surf4Life aims to take disadvantaged people and introduce them to the wonderful world of surfing - making them part of a lifestyle that celebrates fun and excitement. It’s all about developing people, fostering friendships and welcoming people into the surfing family.

Here is the story of where it all began, what their aim is and how you can get more involved.

Where it all began

Surf4Life was founded in 2011 as a surf event to help aid Cancer treatment for a dear friend, Taryn Pratt. Taryn was such an amazing person who lived a life full of faith. She loved generously, touched people’s lives and her dedication towards surfing and the surfing community was inspirational.

Growing Surf4Life from this event into an organisation, is something that we feel very passionate about. We are excited about the prospects it holds for the future development of surfing in South Africa. Surfing is such a fun and therapeutic outlet for children that has a positive influence in their lives.

When Penny took the dream further

I started Surf4Life with some friends and in 2013 I decided to do what Taryn and I had planned – to take underprivileged children surfing. This I did in partnership with theNatural Energy Surf shop. But then, when the shop was sold, I decided to move everything to my backyard and Hannes (my husband) built us a surf hut!

We mostly work with two organisations –Pebbles Projects from Stellenbosch andCircle of Unity in Strand. They bring the children to us and we provide coaches and surfing equipment for weekly lessons. The kids can now trade in their old boards for some greatRYD softboards.

It’s amazing that two of our kids are already surfing at provincial level! In saying that, we still believe surfing is for everyone and coach the kids according to their needs. Whether they would like to try something new, surf competitively or just have fun.

We also do two to three fundraisers a year as well as a few development clinics and surf contests. With our annual fundraisers we raise money for the coaches, equipment and the fun clinics.

About the Surf4Life Contest in Struisbaai

This year there was an astonishing 61 entries, starting from the Boys and Girls U/8 categories going all the way through to the U/18’s.

The waves were perfect on the Saturday, slightly smaller on Sunday, but still good and contestable. By upgrading to marquee tents and a PA system with a commentator - the crowd had some great entertainment.

The local community really came together to grow, sponsor and set-up this competition into such an amazing, fun filled family event. A huge thanks to all and the photographer for the day: Stefan Smit Photography.

The RYD team Results at the contest

Boys U/8

1. Zack Epenetos

Girls U/10

1. Jasmine Venter

Boys U/12

1. Levi Epenetos

Girls U/12

1. Anastasia Venter

Boys U/14

1. Levi Epenetos

2. Xan Munro

Girls U/14

1. Anastasia Venter

Boys U/16

1. Christian Venter

Boys U/18

1. Christian Venter


Building on the Surf Clinic

With the surf clinic, we introduce children (who would not necessarily have the opportunity) to try out surfing and we build relationships in the local community.

We structure the lessons in a tag team format so that there will only be one coach and one student to a surfboard – four coaches and four students in the water at a time.

It’s great when we all work together at bringing change, for example, Robbie from Robbie’s Surfing Lessons continued to coach some of the children for a few sessions last year.

The best part is that all the families and competitors can see what Surf4Lifes all about and where all the raised money gets invested in. Kids taking part in the contest can feel connected at giving back to those learning how to surf in the clinic.

What a (newbie) surfer experiences through Surf4Life 

Freedom. The freedom they feel when they come surfing, all their worries and troubles are left on the beach.

No matter where they come from, everyone deserves an opportunity at such pure enjoyment AKA, Stoke!

How can people get involved with Surf4Life

We appreciate any donations, be it previous loved wetsuits and surfboards or a financial contribution. Alternatively, if you have coaching skills, you are welcome to assist in our sessions.

There is a big annual fundraiser in the beginning of September, which would also require sponsorship.

Please like and follow the Surf4Life Facebook page to get connected and follow RYD on Instagram and Facebook to get these feel good stories popping up in your newsfeed.

Feature Photo: Stefan Smit Photography

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