Pro surfer rides the wave

2019-04-09 06:00
Frank Solomon gives children an opportunity to surf like him.

Frank Solomon gives children an opportunity to surf like him.

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A Hout Bay professional surfer is using his experience and time to keep children safe and give them ocean-based opportunities to save lives.

Frank Solomon says he was disturbed during a protest in Hangberg where a child was shot in the face. He says at that moment, the penny dropped and he knew that if the children had something to keep them busy, this could have been avoided.

That led him to start an organisation that will teach children skills to be able to surf like him.

“I was travelling in Europe at the time when I saw a video where the child was shot in Hangberg. That sparked something in me and I knew I had to do something,” he says.

When he came back he looked for a sport to start his organisation and he approached the Waves of Change to help him do something and teach children to surf and become lifesaving coaches.“Surfing has been everything to me and it opened doors for me. Everything I have is because of surfing so I wanted to give that opportunity to someone else,” he says.

That led to the birth of Sentinel Ocean Alliance, which was set up to create ocean-based opportunities for the underprivileged youth of Hout Bay. They have children from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu attending their programmes. Within the Sentinel Ocean Alliance is the Hout Bay Lifesaving project that teaches children about lifesaving.

These opportunities are economic, social and educational which instil a love for the ocean environment. These opportunities are brought to life via disciplines such as surfing, lifesaving and ocean education. “We want these children to be professional surfers, hence I approached the Waves of Change to help me with the therapeutic side of surfing. The lifesaving club will also help our children be lifeguards and be employed by the City of Cape Town,” he says.

Solomon says he just wanted the same for the children in his area. “I wanted to keep children busy and give them an opportunity that I had. When I was young I spent most of my time surfing so I would like to give these children life-based opportunities,” he says.

The Hout Bay lifesaving club also needs help with equipment. They have a container and they would like to get surfing boards, water and electricity. They have been doing fundraiser projects but still need help to set up the container.Part of the bigger idea is also to start a recycling centre and teach children about recycling and the environment.

V To help them email sentinelocean@gmail.com

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