/ Seeds of hope across Africa


Surf Craftsmanship

Week 1: Drawing, Glueing and cutting

  • In this time we mostly get to know each other and briefly introduction them to Alaia surfboards. 
  • We explain the principles of surfing and hydrodynamics. 
  • Videos and picture of what we are going to do will be shown, also to assess the level of commitment of the kids and the suitability of their character to the project.
  • On the second or third day, we will then draw the outline of the template. After a brief introduction of the basics we will talk about what shape and type of surfboards the children will start making. I like to suggest to them to experiment (in the limits of what is functional) in order to create something unique whilst stimulating their creativity.
  • Once the outline is created, it’s time to prepare the plank of wood that they will be glueing. The wood will be selected by weight, width and veneer.  Once they are happy with the look and fit of the wood the logs will be glued along their length and clamped until the glued is completely dry.
  • The plank will then be ‘cleaned’ and the excess glue will be removed. A tracing of the template will finally be outlined and cut using a jigsaw.
  • The board will then be ‘squared off’ in order to have a clean and even shape to begin with.

Week 2 Shaping away

  • During this week, the board will quickly start  to take shape. 
  • Beginning from the rails, the volume will slowly but surely get removed and the weight and feeling of the surf-craft will begin to make more and more sense.
  • Eventually and mostly without the use of any machine tools, the hull, concave and rails will be carved out of the plank using a hand planer.
  • Once the desired shape is symmetrical and the children are happy with what they have done, the board will start to be sanded down. Firstly using hand-made sanding blocks and finally, if it is available, by using a sanding machine. (This step can be continued just by hand if necessary. It will take much longer, but it will be totally fine if enough effort, care and patience are used.)

Week 3: oiling, waiting and becoming surf- sufficient.

  • When the board is completed, linseed oil will be applied, another very good natural finished can be achieved using most natural oils on their own, or applied together with melted beeswax, to create an extra natural, water-repellent finish.
  • Multiple coats of oil will be applied with different waiting times for drying in between the coats. In the meantime, whilst the children have to wait, they will be instructed on how to create essential accessories in order to not depend on money or the surf industry to surf and potentially teaching them how to create a sustainable  small handcrafted product that can be marketed for tourism.
  • Moreover, they will be instructed on how to take care of possible repairs and general maintenance of their surfboards.

Week 4: Putting the craft to the test and passing down the knowledge.

  • Within the end of week 3 and the beginning of the 4th, the kids will begin to get really excited about trying the new boards. If the right conditions are present, they are finally ready to put their crafts  to the test. Mostly they will also want to demonstrate that they will be able to surf it and that it would work. It’s a very empowering experience. 
  • At the end of the 4th week the children that have demonstrated interest and passion will be assisted in the development of a surf wax business. They will also be asked to become the mentors of a younger generation that will soon start shaping.
  • The new generation boards and student will glue their planks by the end of this week or the beginning of the following.

Week 5: practice makes perfect.

  • During this week, the first generation of children will be guided towards becoming young entrepreneurs . On the other end, they will guide the younger generation of participants by mentoring them and helping them in the creation of their own Alaias or Paipos.
  • In this time, it is also vital to have already found a sustainable and local source of the various inputs needed for the community to become self and surf-sufficient. Wood, glue, beeswax and oil buying channels should be known and contactable.
  • If possible, it would be awesome to organise a surf contest and help the kids promote their hand-made crafts and goods.

Week 6: preparing to go and setting future plans. 

  • During this period of time, the younger children will end their boards and hopefully test it by the end of this week or the beginning of the next one.
  • In the meanwhile, clear projects and pathways will be discussed with the the children, mentors and leaders. 
  • They will be given all of the means and instructions to take charge of this opportunity and continue this tradition with passion.
  • This week is also a great time to celebrate the people and places that have been part of the project. Another great opportunity to organise events, competition and gatherings.

Give children a chance to play.

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Expressive Arts exceeded all my expectations! My daughter grew in confidence and overcame so many anxieties. Being part of this brought out the BEST in all those who took part and was the MOST memorable experience here, by far!

Namibia needs more teachers like you!

A Namibian Parent

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