Thanks to South Africa Express Line (SAEL) Shipping for making the Umthombo Surfing possible.
Umthombo’s surf programme is an engagement programme designed to transition street children out of street life. Although we started using surfing over ten years ago we restructured the programme two years ago and started the Surf Stars project. Sandile “Cyril” Mqadi, well-known surf coach and surf judge, has been employed full-time with Umthombo as head coach for the last four years. Umthombo’s founder Tom Hewitt is a lifelong surfer and surfs with the kids whenever he can. Surfers Not Street Children!
Umthombo Surf video:
- Surf star and Umthombo supporter Jordy Smith took time out of his heavy schedule whilst back in SA to have a surf session with the Umthombo kids. It was organized by RedBull and Andy from Mahala. The kids were super stoked and showed Jordy their skills in the surf. He was fantastic with the kids. Thanks Jordy. We are behind you and Travis as you continue the World Tour!
- Umthombo’s Sihle Mbuto signs with Peg (www.pegworld.com) as a team rider: Well done Sihle, after getting his picture in Zigzag surf magazine pulling a sick fins-out top-turn in the New Pier bowl. Sihle now has a full sponsorship wearing Peg clothing and using Peg equipment. Check out their website too. Sihle runs his own surf school. If you want to book lessons with him for you, your kids or visitors please email firstname.lastname@example.org He charges R150 per hour but is more than willing to go over the allotted hour for no extra charge!
- Pro surfer, Travis Logie, stopped by at Umthombo this week to donate 12 awesome performance surfboards. The kids were stoked! Travis is an awesome surfer with a big heart. He and his bro Ryan had a good look around Safespace, chatted with the kids, checked an arts session that was happening with the social work team and did a hand over of boards, fins and wetsuits. Thanks Trav and all the best for the 2012 world Tour!
- Umthombo surfers being given a lesson on Hawaiian “Aloha” during a visit to Umthombo’s Safespace by the world renowned surf film-maker Jack McCoy. Jack is an amazing guy and the kids absolutely loved him. Umthombo’s Tom Hewitt couldn’t believe that he was hanging with the man who made Bunyip Dreaming, the Green Iguana and many other classic surf movies. Whilst in Durban Jack had a showing of his awesome new movie “A Deeper Shade of Blue” at Umthombo. He also invited the Umthombo surfers to the cinema showings of his movie as his special guests! The kids were so, so stoked! Aloha Jack, you rock!
- Surf’s Up at Umthombo’s Safespace. This is where the Umthombo surfers live. the surfing programme runs alongside other children’s programmes where social workers and child and youth-care workers empower the children to be able to start addressing the traumas relating to having been street children whilst at the same time, providing future alternatives, hopefully being reintegrated with their families if this is appropriate and possible.
- A young Umthombo surfer practices his turns: Umthombo uses surfing as a high intensity engagement progamme to lead street children away from street life towards alternatives. the children in the programme are at varying stages of leaving street life. Umthombo’s Safespace is a 24/7 centre where the children live during this process. Photo: Bex Morton
- Umthombo founder Tom Hewitt briefs the children before a tag team event at the Quiksilver Pro Junior which saw Umthombo’s surfers and the Quiksilver Pros team up. here, the kids are ready to tear up the New pier bowl. It was such a fun day. The waves were super fun and Quiksilver gave the kids t-shirts, caps and whole lot of fun.
- Umthombo supporter Jordy Smith is World No.2 ranked surfer. He is possibly the most exciting surfer in the world today and an absolute sensation. He happens to be from Durban and a New Pier local. Jordy spent time with the Umthombo kids whilst back in SA earlier this year before embarking on his 2011 World Title challenge. Jordy Smith, his father, renowned surfboards shaper Graham Smith and ONeill (Jordy’s main sponsor) have joined forces for the Jordy Smith/Umthombo bursary. Jordy has also given Umthombo a video camera so that they can film themselves surfing and send him the mpegs whilst he is on the world tour. He will then give them pointers and coaching whilst away. Here Jordy, Lucky (bursary recipient 2011)and Andile watch the waves.
- Sfiso rips. He is such a talented little surfer and so ready for surf sponsorship. He is one of the children who surfed for KZN at the Billabong Grom Games in PE. he and Khetho have been accepted into the KZN Surfing Acadamy a prorgamme of Surfing KZN’s that mentors future surf stars in their surfing. of course, Umthombo is all about mentoring Sfiso towards alternatives to street life and overcoming having been a street child.Photo: Bex Morton
- Everybody loves Bongani (17), partly because he is an all round nice guy but also because he has come so far. Bongani was one of the smaller kids who was a glue addict sitting outside Tong Lok in Point Road and his enthusiasm for surfing and always wanting to surf better together with his access to services at Umthombo has meant a complete transformation of life for him. He is a confident surfer who takes on some sizey waves. Bongani is a strong guy who dreams of working and surfing in his spare time. He’ll make it! Photo: Bex Morton
- Meet some of the surfers coming out of Umthombo and into adulthood:
- Andile Zulu (18) was given his first surfboard by none other than World No.2 surfer Jordy Smith!! When he found himself living on the streets he came to Umthombo and started working on his surfing and his future. He has a great surf style as seen in this pic of him floating. he is also the star of the Umthombo advert on our opening page…and actor! Photo: Bex Morton
- Shorty (Xolani) (18) also lived on the streets for many years. He has been with Umthombo for a number of years and is currently working on a life plan in Umthombo’s Lifespace programme. He is a powerful surfer and pulled a sick 360 in the recent Quiksilver tag team event for Umthombo surfers and the Quik pro’s at the Quiksilver junior pro in Durban. Photo: Bex Morton
- Sihle Mbuto (18) is an exciting surfer and former street child who has come through Umthombo. He pushes the style limits with his surfing always sliding the tail past the norm. Sihle is setting up his own surf school with the help of Umthombo. Check out the spray in this pic….siiiick! Photo: Bex Morton
- Lucky Nozisali (20) has come through Umthombo. he was also on the streets for over 10 years. he is now about to qualify as a lifeguard and is sponsored by ONeill Surfwear and wetsuits and Gee Force Surfboards. he also won the Jordy Smith Surf Bursary. Check is arms back style on this shot. Photo: Bex Morton
- Mthobisi (19) a former street child came into Umthombo’s surfing programme.he worked the Christmas season with the eThekwini Lifeguard service as a volunteer but has now started a training course with Calypso Diving in uShaka Marine as a diving instructor. He loves this. He still surfs, but is busy with studying for the diving qualification. he is one of four Umthombo former street children to be training as diving instructors. Mthobisi is also part of Umthombo’s Life-space mentoring programme. Photo: Bex Morton
- Andile Zwane (18) was a street child in Durban, he came through Umthombo’s surfing programme and now works full-time for BILT Surfboards in Durban. He rents his own flat and is an independent young man but of course, still part of team Umthombo! He credits his success to his own personal strength and resolve as well as his Christian beliefs. Andlie is an all-round nice guy with a big future. he is a solid surfer. Photo: Bex Morton
- Ricardo Madondo (18) Ricardo also found himself on the streets and came into Umthombo’s progamme. he is now in the Lifespace mentoring prorgamme as he works out, with Umthombo a life plan. Recently he was one of the Umthombo surfers who went on a South Coast “secret spot” trip with Bombsurf’s John McCarthy. He has become a good surfer and a new Pier regular. photo: Bex Morton.
- Ma’ah (19) lived on the streets for over ten years. He was addicted to glue. he has come through Umthombo’s programmes. He is now about to qualify as a lifeguard and shreds! Here he is contemplating life from the New Pier. From street child to surfer. His face tells of his journey, his surfing of his freedom. Photo: Bex Morton
- Ma’ah in action. as well as his lifeguard training Ma’ah has also started fixing surfboards. His ding repair business is part of his life plan that he is developing at Umthombo’s Life-space where he lives. Life-space is a halfway house for children who have become adults whilst under Umthombo’s progammes. it helps them transition into adulthood. Photo: Bex Morton
- Although skateboarding grew out of surfing, these days surfing borrows from skateboarding. just look st all the airs being pulled on Durban beachfront and the slides and all the fuss over the kickflip! Dumisani (19) grew up as a street child in the skate-park on Bay of Plenty beach in Durban where he got to know Bulelwa and Tom Hewitt. He got involved with Umthombo’s and became part of Umthombo’s surfing programme and is in Life-space, Umthombo’s halfway house. He is training to be a diving instructor with Calypso Diving at uShaka marine World. This is a guy that cant be held back…go for it Dumisani!! Photo: Bex Morton
- Dude, look at your tooth? No, this is not an Alfred E. Neuman (Mad Magazine) look alike compo, Lucky and Xolani joking around after Xolani has tooth removed. Xolani (18, and right in pic) has been in Umthombo’s programmes for years. He has become a good surfer and is now training as a dive instructor at Calypso Diving at uShaka Marine. surfing has provided a way out of the streets for him. Xolani is also part of Life-space Umthombo’s halfway house. With a good sense of humour he has spent time transforming his life. keep it up Xolani! Photo: Bex Morton
News from Team Umthombo: April 2011
- Three of the children from Umthombo represented KZN recently at the Billabong Grom games in Port Elizabeth. Sfiso, Khetho and Bonginkosi did so well. Bonginkosi got medals in flags and paddle battle and Sfiso and Khetho made semis. It was great fun and thanks so much to KZN Surfing, especially Paul, Lynette and Kerry. The children had such a great time. This pic is of Khetho shredding at home in the New Pier bowl. Photo: Bex Morton
- Lucky, style guru, comedian, New Pier local. Whether he’s somersaulting off the New Pier or charging the waves at the new Pier he comes with flamboyant style. Lucky is one of the most interesting characters on the beachfront. Being an Umthombo surfer means signing up to a new life but also a lot of fun. Lucky, sponsored by ONeill and training to be a lifesaver is also somewhat of a leader and mentor to other street kids. He had great parents but lost both in a car crash when he was eight and found himself alone in the world. He found himself in the streets with the other street children. He did not choose the streets but was forced to the streets. he speaks movingly about his parents and their impact on him. however, he has developed a grab on to life attitude and takes every opportunity. Photo: Bex Morton
- Umthombo’s Cyril Mqadi teaching some of the kids. the training on the beach is as important as the water time. children who start in the beginners surf progamme at Umthombo are taught to swim first, if they do not already know how. They then learn the disciplines of surfing and the etiquette that goes along with it. Cyril also works on fitness with them and the do paddles up and down the beach as well as running and a variety of other fitness challenges.
- Recently, Umthombo founder, Tom Hewitt (39) tore his rotator cuff (shoulder) whilst surfing. He is back in the water surfing shortboards now but whilst recovering he used a stand-up paddle board (SUP) to rebuild the muscles. The idea was to paddle up and down the bay on flat water, gently rebuilding the shoulder. That was the plan! Top pic: Tom staying well away from the surf as he gently paddles his SUP up and down the bay…NOT! Below: Back and stoked! This is Tom in action on a very recent trip to the UK. A shout out to Umthombo supporters in North Devon!
- Basking in the glory! Andile about to jump from the pier into the surf. Well, i use the term “about-to” loosely. Jumping off the pier, in normal size waves is a fairly routine and quick affair. However, on this day it took Andile 45 minutes to jump and it was nothing to do with the waves! Street children, when on the streets are often viewed as the rubbish of society by passers by. However, Andile, no longer a street kid but a surfer, takes on the role of daring adventurer, gladiator and general hero to this group of….groupies who thought he was just great!!! Way to go Andile!
- Umthombo’s surfers have become well-known in the Point area of Durban which runs alongside Durban’s beachfront. Each morning after nutrition, they walk down to the beach for the morning session during the pre-education stage of developing stability in their lives and overcoming glue sniffing. we are preparing them for being able to leve street life and re-enter the education system.