WATCH — Project aims to get more Black kids on surfboards

CBC Kids News • Published 2020-10-01 05:00

Students come from one of Canada’s oldest Black communities

With a license plate slogan like “Canada’s Ocean Playground,” you’d think all Nova Scotians would get the opportunity to play in the waves.

But you don’t often see African Nova Scotians on surfboards, despite a thriving surf scene in that province.

The North Preston Surf Program aims to change that by teaching the next generation of Black surfers how to catch a wave.

After two seasons, the program seems to be finding its sea legs.

“I feel confident,” said 8-year-old Katrell Sparks as he stood on Martinique Beach in his wet suit during a recent lesson. “I can stand up, I can kneel down, I can jump over big waves.”

“I’m just like the daredevil on the ocean,” he added with a grin.

Instagram post from NorthPrestonSurf shows Katrell Sparks smiling in his wetsuit in the ocean with the caption: Weekly smile update

Most of the students in the program come from North Preston, one of Canada’s oldest Black communities, just outside of Halifax.

More than 80 people of all ages signed up for the program in 2019.

The 2020 season looked a bit different due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the lessons continued in smaller groups.

Instagram post by NorthPrestonSurf show view of beach with people and surfboards with caption: Anyone missing this right about now?

A project like this was long overdue, said program director Durrell Borden as he watched his students paddle out.

As a Black surfer, Borden said, it can be a bit lonely on the water.

“I’ve been the only one that I’ve seen, visibly, for years,” he said. “We thought it’d be great for there to be more than just myself and the few that exist in the world.”

Watch the video to watch the next generation of surfers in action!

TOP IMAGE CREDIT: NorthPrestonSurf/Instagram

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