JEFFREYS BAY has an untapped resource of talented young surfers who are more than willing to do what it takes to get ahead in the cut- throat sport that demands total commitment.
However, says mentor Thys Strydom, the youngsters are faced with untold challenges that prevent them from performing to their full potential. Many come from single-parent homes and although skipping school is not an option they often have to overcome adverse situations.
All amateur surfers must take part in at least nine contests over a one-year period to be ranked.
“If they do not surf in the competitions they cannot be ranked and the higher you’re ranked the better the chance of a sponsorship,” explained Strydom.
Calling it a catch-22 situation he says the youngsters are very dedicated and would benefit greatly from any form of sponsorship. Strydom and a few other prominent people in the trade have taken the children under their wing by taking them to competitions, securing surfboards and wetsuits and accommodation as they go along.
“The local surfing fraternity including Etienne Venter, Koffie Jacobs, me and a few others have rallied around and tried to help the kids with what we have at our disposal. I believe if we can secure the proper backing for them they will be able to get sponsors who they will make very proud.”
The last competition the majority of the surfers competed in was in Mossel Bay.
Sponsorship from the J’Bay Windfarm made this possible and the surfers did the town proud with the sterling performances delivered by all.
Rip Curl and Billabong also do some sponsoring. Strydom proudly says all the children are excellent sportsmen who perform well at school and adds that Jerry van Wyk has been chosen as deputy head boy at Pellsrus Primary for 2012.