Haiti Haiti News Haitian Babies and Children Sports

Haitian Kids in Kabic Beach, Haiti Riding The Waves

Samson, one of the more experienced surfers in the group, catche
Samson, one of the more experienced surfers in the group, catches a long ride as the wave starts to break, on May 5, 2014. Courtesy of Slate.com

Like anywhere, Haitian children are into everything, and as long as people are willing to train they are excited to learn. I’m not surprise there’s so many Haitian kids interested in surfing when they live in a country surrounded by so much water.

According to Slate, not only are the children surfing, they are really good and there’s an organization called Surf Haiti who help teach the kids by offering lesson after school.

KABIC BEACH, Haiti—The kids can surf. They come after school, a group of a dozen or more, to ride the waves in the azure waters off Kabic Beach, not far from Jacmel, the country’s cultural capital. When they were younger, they learned to body-board on discarded planks of wood they found near the shore. Then came the foreigners who gave them real boards and taught them to stand on them, and now the kids make it look effortless, as though they’ve surfed since birth.

They are members of Surf Haiti, a small organization that teaches other locals how to ride, offers lessons to visitors, rents boards, and cleans up the beach. The group, which has 23 members ranging in age from 11 to 21, was formed in 2010 here on Haiti’s southern coast. The mission was to help the local kids capitalize on tourists drawn to the beaches and palm trees, the varied surf breaks—beach, reef, and rock—and the uncrowded waves.

The organization was founded by two Hawaiian men after the 2010 earthquake.

Two of the boys from Surf Haiti dodge share a wave, May 5, 2014.
Two of the boys from Surf Haiti dodge share a wave, May 5, 2014.  Courtesy of Slate.com

Not long ago surfing was completely alien to Kabic Beach. Ken Pierce, a doctor from Hawaii, first traveled to Haiti a few weeks after the 2010 earthquake as a disaster response physician. He later served as director at an orphanage in Cyvadier, near Jacmel. When he came to the coast, Pierce, who has surfed since his teens and had brought a board with him from his home in Kauai, asked around and nobody could recall seeing anyone surfing the local breaks.

“The first time I paddled out at a spot near Kabic—now known as Pierce Point—the rocks were lined with kids and adults who were enthusiastically cheering for me,” he says. “When I padded in, I asked if they would like to learn how to surf. The response was unanimous.” The next time Pierce went home, he brought back several boards and started teaching local kids. Soon after, he co-founded Surf Haiti with a fellow Hawaiian named Alan Potter.

Olympic Haitian surfer? I can picture that.

Andris hopes that someday the best Haitian surfers will travel abroad for competitions, to experience places other than this stretch of sand. Most of the kids have never left the area. He hopes Surf Haiti’s members will be able to earn a proper living through surfing, and that the organization will help pay for their schooling. Every month, half of every dollar Surf Haiti earns through lessons and board rentals goes to the association for administrative costs, and the other half goes directly to the kids. It’s not much, but everything matters in a country where 80 percent of the population lives on $2 a day. “Here, there isn’t a lot of opportunities for kids. It’s important for them to have something to do,” Andris says. Eventually, Andris aims to host an international competition featuring both locals and competitors from abroad.  Read Full Story Here

Samuel, Ronald, and Samson walk along the beach at dusk after a successful afternoon in the water, May 5, 2014.
Samuel, Ronald, and Samson walk along the beach at dusk after a successful afternoon in the water, May 5, 2014. Courtesy of Slate.com
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