VIDEO AND PHOTOS: South Coasters Paddle Out for Sharks

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Quintin van Jaarsveld

South Coasters gave sharks a voice during the annual Paddle Out for Sharks at the Sonny Evans Small Craft Harbour in Shelly Beach on Saturday.

The ski-boat base was buzzing with excitement as children from Give a Child a Family were treated to a special day.

They arrived in top-of-the-line cars from BMW Supertech, went on motorcycle rides with the Ruff Culture crew, played games, enjoyed tasty treats and received gift pacts.

Organised by African Dive Adventures in conjunction with Must Byt Fishing Charters, who provided free boat rides, the event saw over 30 ocean lovers, ranging from surfers to divers to fishermen to pleasure trippers, heading out in fantastic weather to celebrate World Ocean Day and support shark conservation.

Prominent amongst them as usual was legendary Port Shepstone surfer Heather Clark, who said it was the biggest and best local Paddle Out yet.

“It was a stunning morning, a beautiful sunrise and a great occasion,” Clark told eHowzit.

“The waves looked quite small but by the time we got out the waves had picked up and I thought to myself ‘How on earth is everyone going to get out past the breakers?’

“It seems like God is always on our side and there was a little lull that allowed everyone to get out nice and safe.

“Roland Mauz from African Dive Adventures gave a nice talk and when we got back it was great to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they got to ride in larny BMWs and on bikes and have fun.

“It’s been a perfect day and the event gets bigger and better every year.”

Beulah Mauz from African Dive Adventures said, “At every year’s Paddle Out, we aim to spread a message of the importance of shark conservation and ocean conservation in general. We also use the opportunity to give a bit back to the community and host a group of children for the day.

“We can of cause not do this on our own and we are very grateful to our sponsors that support us every year.”

Recapping the day, Mauz said, “What fantastic weather we had today; we watched the sun rise, enjoying muffins and coffee served by NSRI.

“The youngsters that we hosted from Give a Child a Family arrived in style in the super luxurious transport sponsored by BMW. Their wide-eyed excitement was contagious.

“Soon everybody started moving towards their allocated boats and headed for backline. But as with every event, not everything goes as planned and taking 10 boats out to sea on the damaged ramp at the ski-boat club soon led to congestion and when a boat got stuck in the sand, I knew that it would take a while before everybody could get out to sea.

“Heather Clark and Menize Clark and their surfers waited patiently to finally be able to hit the water and join the boats out at sea. Roland gave a short talk about shark conservation and the important role sharks play in the well-being of our blue planet.

“As always, we paid a flowery tribute to the sharks and ocean and then spent some time at the shark nets before heading back to the beach.

“NSRI Station 20 Shelly Beach acted as our safety officers for the day and they made sure that all surfers got back to the beach safely. Not that they needed much help – one of them actually decided to paddle all the way to St Mike’s beach.

“In the meantime, our very small little guests who could not go out to sea had their faces painted and were entertained by Harry the Hammerhead.

“The bikes arrived and the children were absolutely thrilled to get a ride with the guys from Ruff Culture. The kids were allowed to pick which bike they would like to go on and came back from their rides with the widest smiles you have ever seen.

“After all this excitement, it was time for a bit of education and they were given a talk on water and ocean safety by the guys from the NSRI.

“Next was Steven Burls and Harry the Hammerhead talking about shark conservation and ocean conservation in general. Both Steve and Harry must have been very entertaining as we heard lots of giggling and laughter going on.

“The sand castle competition was next. Our judges had a difficult time to choose a winner from all the great entrants. Then they finally got the chance to tuck into all the yummy food.

“Soon their chattering became less and there were a lot of sleepy little faces…it was time to leave. They left as they arrived in the super luxury cars from BMW.

“We truly hope that they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed having them around. They are super polite, well-mannered and grateful for every small gift and gesture.

“Thank you so much to BMW – you guys were just so generous. Thanks for the buckets and spades, the courtesy vehicles as well as the lovely gift packs for each child.

“Thank you Spar Shelly Beach. You guys feed our guest every year so very generously. Ruff Culture, your bikes never seize to thrill our guests…thank you! Coee, thank you for sponsoring us with drinks each year. Thanks for the very yummy cupcakes Estelle Burls; they were gone in a flash.

“Thank you so much to the following sponsors as well: Vetkoek Den, Ramsgate Stationers, Craft Shop, Woolworths, Pick and Pay, Fruit and Veg, Frey’s Butchery, Lucky’s Albany’s and Impi Clothing.

Some our guest on the boats also brought some clothing….thank you. Thanks to Must-Byt Fishing Charters for hosting the children on your boats and assisting with getting sponsorship.

“Thanks to Aquaplanet, especially Nothie and Bonita. NSRI Station, thank you for always supporting us each year and hosting the coffee station for the surfers. Thanks so much Antoinette le Roux, Melodie Herrmann, Gary and the rest of the crew.

“Special thank you to Heather and Menize Clark and the surfing community of Margate. You guys honestly steal the show every year. Thanks John Phillips for everything. Med-Evac, we really appreciate your support.

“My biggest thank you needs to go to Carrie-Lee Phillips; Carrie actually put the whole Paddle Out together. She only had two weeks and achieved so much.

“Last but not least, thank you to Amanda Barratt and Cormac McCreesh for inviting us to your Paddle Out in 2014 and inspiring us to do our own event. We look forward to having you all at Paddle Out 2019. Let’s make it the best one ever.”

Photos by Offshore Surf Photography

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