Four years ago, we started Thatha iLiza, a surf-therapy project for youth in our community. The team is part of the Wave Alliance and uses an evidence-based surf therapy programme developed by Waves for Change. The curriculum has been proven to decrease violent and risky behaviour, improve resilience to trauma and coping skills, improve happiness and self-confidence, and improve engagement at home and school. 

This past weekend, Thatha iLiza participated in their first-ever surf competition at the Coffee Bay Classic. There were many “firsts” for our team on the trip. Nobody had visited Coffee Bay before, and some had never travelled outside our community.

They bunked together at the legendary Coffee Shack Backpackers and got to tour the area and see Izi Khaleni/Hole in the Wall. We heard sweet stories of 2am wakeups on Saturday before leaving in anticipation of the exciting weekend ahead.

We are SO proud of our team. Nine of our surfers and one coach competed. They were brave and jumped right into the new waves in the water with some of South Africa’s most talented surfers. We even brought home a few medals and a 1st place trophy for the u-12 boys age group. They represented Bulungula so well.

A big thank you to Coffee Shack Backpackers for hosting such a fun event and sharing the stoke. Siyabulua… we will be back!

Thatha iLiza team getting ready for the Coffee Bay Classic surf competition.
Perfect day for a surf.
Catching a wave!
Halala Thatha iLiza halala
Coach Samora posing with Unam, winner of u-12 boys age group at Hole in the Wall.