It’s been a while since the last time I wrote a blog. Time flies and a lot has happened the last few months. The main highlights have been my trip to Liberia, going to El Salvador again, and growing my online surf coaching platform.
About 20 years ago while in South Africa I remember watching a documentary called Sliding Liberia. It is a documentary based around these surfers who went to Liberia after the civil war to help the local communities through ais work. They ended up spending some time in the capital, Monrovia and then also going to Robertsport.
Robertsport is a small fishing community just outside a super good surf area which has 6 perfect left points. The stories they told and the waves they shared there sounded and looked amazing and always wanted to go experience Liberia and surf those waves.
Collaborating with the International Surfing Association as a surf coach and as a course presenter takes me to some super cool places. The ISA reached out to me asking me if I wanted to represent them by running a level 1 surf coaching course, a level 1 judging course and a surf lifesaving course. I didn’t think twice and said yes.
A Dutch friend and I went together as ISA representatives and collaborated with the local Robertsport surf club, and 2 nonprofits- Universal Outreach and Provide the Slide.
Universal Outreach id dedicated to providing people with quality educational opportunities, market driven skills training programs and entrepreneur mentoring.
Provide the Slide collects un- used secondhand surfboards from around the world and then sends them to places like Liberia to provide a slide (a surfboard) to share the stoke with people who cannot afford to buy a surfboard.
The civil war in Liberia ended in 2004 and since then things have got a lot better and safer. The war was quite intense as the revels use to go to schools, kill the teachers, kidnap the kids and then turn them into child soldiers. If they refused, they were killed. A lot of the men fought in the war, leaving a lot of women alone without their kids or husbands. This left them vulnerable and a lot of them were raped and tortured.
The economy is growing, and people are living at peace with each other. The country only just started getting electricity again the last few years, and not everyone can afford it so not everyone has it. Going to Liberia is kind of like going back in time. Most people live off the land and live from day to day.
So the goal for us going to Liberia was to educate and qualify surfers to become surf coaches and enable them to give surf lessons to expats, tourists and to help grow the local surf community so they could be given the chance to surf in African and international surf contests, travel as surfers and as coaches and try make a living off the surf industry.
The courses went super well and at the end of the courses we helped run their national surf contest, which ended up been an African international surf contests with a few other surfers from West Africa. The vibe was amazing and the turnout was spectacular.
We were quite busy with the courses and the contests, but did manage to get some surfing in between here and there. The day everyone left was the best day. We got to stay and we had the whole day free to surf and eat! The waves were pumping and ended up surfing 4 times that day. The best surf we had was our second surf where we took a boat up the coast for 25 minutes and surfed this amazing 300 meter long left in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful dense jungle on the beach. We shared some epic waves together.
I could go on and on on how amazing my experience in Liberia was. I must say though, out of all the places I've been to around the world this is the one that stood out for me the most and the one that impacted me the most. The people, the waves, the culture, and the way history has shaped them into who they are now and how they have held onto hope for a better future.
Have a look at my short documentary on Liberia which I made and shared on my YouTube Channel.
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