Travel is the lifeblood of surfing. Without travel you would be stuck surfing your lousy local for the rest of your life.
As Australians, we are so lucky to be in such close proximity to the South Pacific islands. The South Pacific region is home to some of the best waves in the world think Cloudbreak, Teahupo’o and Restaurants. The growing hoards of Aussie surfers that flock to these beautiful parts of the world will swear it was the time of their life and will tell you stories of getting stand up pits, eating meals bigger your head and drinking more of the local beer than you could imagine, not to mention being treated like kings by the grinning natives.
However, despite its beauty, the South Pacific region is prone to disasters, namely cyclones
Recently Cyclone Pam, a category five system, unleashed its fury and the chain of islands in the South Pacific bore the brunt (SBS, 2015). Cyclone Pam took out approximately 90 per cent of Vanuatu’s infrastructure crippled its telecommunications system and caused severe water shortages. Australia’s government has been highly supportive, pledging $10million, as well as sending military aid, for the rebuilding efforts (ABC, 2015).
This money will go a long way but some of Vanuatu’s people may miss out- and those who do miss out are likely to be the locals of remote communities- and home to the island’s best surf breaks.
As surfers we are presented with an awesome opportunity to give back to the communities that call these isolated surf breaks home. SurfAid is a charity developed by surfers for surfers. The charity was founded after Dr Dave Jenkins went on a trip to the Mentawai islands to find perfect waves but instead found that the local people, who came off as welcoming and ecstatically happy, struggled to combat malaria and suffered inadequate living conditions. So, Dr Jenkins started the charity in order to create positive change in remote communities that are frequented by travelling surfers. His aim is to improve living conditions for the people so that they can combat their hardships and remain as stoked as ever for the next group of surfers to visit.
While SurfAid focuses on the island chains in Western Indonesia there are other charities set up in order to support the people of Vanuatu.
Oxfam promises that a donation of $49 can provide an emergency hygiene kit for a person in need. This kit will give a person the basic necessities to maintain their health.
If surfers don’t work to preserve the life and well being of communities in the popular surf destinations, soon there won’t be anywhere or anyone to visit.
If you are a surfer and you are going to travel somewhere exotic, give back to the people who let you surf their break and welcome you with open arms, so that the next person who comes through shares the same great experience as you
You can donate to Oxfam’s appeal here