Teamwork and a whole lot of fun; here’s why you need to sign your kids up for Pirates Surf Rescue
Years ago when we’d trek down to Kite Beach with three kids under the age of three, I remember seeing a group of kids in matching rash vests having heaps of fun on the sand and in the water – supervised by a number of coaches and getting stuck into everything from running races to surfing. While it seemed a long way off, I vowed that if we were still in Dubai when my littles were old enough to do the same, we’d be signing them up pronto. Turns out that this cool gang of kiddos who’d inspired me that many years ago were part of the Pirates Surf Rescue Team, a club based on the South African/Australian ‘nippers’ program which introduces children to the ocean environment – whether they want to become the lifesavers of tomorrow or they just love being part of an organisation that’s all about having fun, being fit and making some really great friends along the way.
And finally the day came, my little boy Felix was old enough to become a ‘pirate’ (just after his seventh birthday) and we became a part of something very special.
Run by Candy (a South African mama of three and one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever had the privilege to meet) and a team of coaches with the most extraordinary talents (from marine biology to diving) and passion for teaching kids, Pirates Surf Rescue is a truly amazing activity. Candy is a hugely accomplished athlete and coach – she’s the team ‘mom’ – providing the perfect balance of love and nurture with training her Pirates up to be little superstars, whatever their talents.
With the main session taking place every Saturday morning from 8am – 9.30am (yes, it’s early but is there anything better than starting the day on the beach?!) and two afternoon sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’re encouraged to try to come twice a week if possible. I won’t lie, the first couple of times Felix needed a lot of convincing to get involved. He was new to it all, he felt shy, he didn’t know the drill – but within just a few days he was having the time of his life. And here’s the thing. If your child isn’t hugely sporty or if he/she isn’t confident in water then it just doesn’t matter because Candy and the team are all about encouraging them to try new things and supporting them to grow and learn.
And what I love about Pirates Surf Rescue is that emphasis is placed on teamwork – on the ‘seniors’ (up to age 19) helping the ‘juniors’ (from age 6/7). There’s a zero tolerance policy for nasty or bad behavior and Candy’s pep talks about helping each other, about girls being just as good as boys and about being good responsible people are soaked up by the whole team (Felix regularly quotes Candy at home now!). Oh but there are prizes and treats galore for effort and hard work (the Saturday morning donuts/sweets/hot dogs as well as the medals and celebrations are a huge part of it all too).
After a year as a pirate, Felix’s confidence has grown as has his knowledge and skills in a beach environment. He’s tried everything from dragon boating to jet-skiing. He’s caught waves, learned self defense and knows how to help someone in trouble in the water and his heart is set on getting to the senior level where he’ll get to join an annual surf trip to Sri Lanka. But most of all, Felix has made some great friends and wears his Pirates kit with such pride. Pirates Surf Rescue has meant that we’ve spent more time as a family on the beach, watching this awesome group of kids, meeting an equally awesome group of parents and coaches and feeling truly honored to be part of something so special and I encourage every mama with kiddos old enough to sign them up and give it a go.
To find out more about how to join the Pirates Surf Rescue Team, contact them via their Facebook Page or Instagram @pirates.surf