A 9-year-old Hout Bay boy has been raising money to give kids from Mandela Park a chance to surf.
Will Ronquest-Ross, a Grade 3 Kronendal Primary School pupil and passionate surfer, says he wants to share his love of the waves with his friends.
Will was going door-to-door in Hout Bay, before his initiative gained some traction and a BackaBuddy campaign was started. So far, it’s raised R4 000.
“I love surfing, and I really wanted to share that feeling. The plan was to help my friends from Mandela Park also get that cool feeling of being in a tube,” says Will.
He started surfing at the age of 5, when his mother, who is also a surfer, showed him the ropes.
“I felt like I wanted someone to come and do surfing with me. My mother is a surfer, but I felt like she was getting too old to go far out with me, and that is when I got the idea to get my friends surfing with me, but money was a challenge and that is why I started fund-raising,” Will says.
His proudest moment through it all, he says, was hearing his mates raving about their first few surfing lessons.
“They wanted to know when is the next session, and they kept asking when are we hitting the waves again. They might have joined me for lessons, but they are well on their way to learning how to surf.”
Will’s mother, Fiona Ronquest-Ross, says the boys were keen to try out new skills and weren’t put off after a “tumble in the waves”.
“Most managed to get up onto their knees, but one or two actually stood up. Not bad for first-time surfers. Most importantly, they had a lot of fun learning to body-surf and play about with each other.
“Their first lesson has them hooked. But, they were scared of sharks before they jumped in.”
Will comes from a family who seem to spend most of their time on the beach; his uncle and aunt both catch waves regularly.
The family belongs to the Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club, where Will trains with the nippers.
Liam Wood, an instructor working with the boys at the Cape Town Surfing Club in Hout Bay, says he’s impressed with what Will is dong.
“We are absolutely blown away with his approach towards surfing, and it’s incredible to think he is only 9-years-old and already so wise beyond his years.”
They were so impressed, says Liam, that the club’s instructors decided to teach the Mandela Park youngsters for free.
So the money Will has raised so far and future BackaBuddy donations will be used by the club to cover the costs of teaching disadvantaged kids to surf.
“Will has not only targeted the Mandela Park area but has been attracting kids from Hangberg and all around Hout Bay. This all started with him wanting to share his passion for surfing and it has grown into something quite cool,” Liam says.
“It’s really amazing to see these kids learn so quickly and it’s special to have a 9-year-old behind such an initiative.”
To support Will’s initiative or donate towards the cause, visit the BackaBuddy page link www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/wills-surfing-sponsorship
To find out more about the Cape Town Surfing Club and what they have to offer, call Liam Wood on 063 686 7524.