This is no quota system. Nor token selections. Nor an “ag shame, give them a chance” development team, no way.
These boys from disadvantaged backgroundsmade the highly successful Western Province Longboard team on merit. The Western Province Longboarders have won the Presidents trophy a record 10 times in the last 12 years, arguably one of the most successful sports teams in the province. Winning is big for them and they cant afford passengers. The three newcomers in the team, Kwezi Qika 14, Hilton Klopas 9, and Dorian Newman 16, are are protégés of Muizenberg based surfing teacher Gary Kleynhans from Gary’s Surf School, who took them under his wing about two years ago.
They were part of a group of about 20 kids from mainly poor backgrounds who used to hang around Gary’s Surf School on Muizenberg beachfront. He decided to give them free lessons and watch them progress. The boys showed huge determination and enthusiasm – surfing in the cold water without wetsuits and on borrowed boards. Kleynhans used to motivate them by promising to lend them wetsuits at their next session.
After all this time, they still surf with borrowed gear and without sponsership they won’t be able to reach their next goal – the national championships in Durban. Dlorian, who lives in Muizenberg, used to be a keen soccer player until he had first first free surfing lesson. Now he says “Ek is addicted to surfing.” This is the first time he got Western Province, and for him, going to surfing paradise Durban for the championships is a dream come true. Kwezi on the other hand went to Durban about two years ago. He had a close shave when he got washed up between the piers at North Beach, but that hasn’t fazed him and he went to Durban, hoping to win the boys title.
Hilton, who lives with his mother and brother in a tiny flat at Muizenberg Corner, has also made the Western Province Shortboard development side.
Gary’s group of aspiring young surfers from disadvantaged areas has grown to about 40 since he took in the three young boys.
Written in 2001, author unknown.