The Corona Open J-Bay is a World Surf League (WSL) event held in Jefferey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. This year, the community outreach programme 9Miles Project gave 20 children the opportunity to attend the surfing event and see their favourite pro surfers compete.

Founded in Cape Town, 9Miles is a non-profit organisation that works with at-risk children and youth in informal coastal settlements, providing mentorship and support. Surfing is used as a catalyst to teach discipline, determination, and life skills. The project was started by Nigel Savel and his wife Sher’Neil, with the vision of improving their crime and drug-scourged communities.

SAOTA has been a proud partner of 9Miles for the past 7 years. Alongside a handful of sponsors, 9Miles was able to embark on a road trip to the Eastern Cape for the WSL event. Many of the children had never left the Cape Flats, let alone Cape Town, which made exploring the Garden Route a life-changing experience.

Ten days were spent on adventure activities including a visit to Birds of Eden, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, and Plett Puzzle Park in Plettenberg Bay. The highlight of the trip was the daily visits to the Corona Open J-Bay, spending time on the beach, and meeting their surfer heroes. On one of the days, the girls participated in the WSL’s “Rising Tides” programme where they met and surfed with professional female surfers. This initiative aims to provide young surfers with access to the world’s best surfers and a platform to explore and learn from their heroes about pursuing their dreams in and out of the water.

The children walked away with practical techniques and surfing tips, which was an uplifting and inspirational experience.

For ways to get involved and to support the youth through 9Miles, please visit: