by Michelle Michalak July 24, 2017

Slyde Team Rider Makena Magro's number one item on her bucket list is "traveling the world & surfing major breaks."  

Thanks to a surfing study abroad program she was able to check South Africa off her list, and spread the stoke of handboarding to the local kids.

What brought you to South Africa? How long were you there? What parts?

I needed a study abroad experience for school as a requirement for my major to graduate. This last year they allowed non credited courses or activities to pass as your study abroad experience, so after doing some research I found the Surfing Outreach program in South Africa through a program called International Volunteering Headquarters (IVHQ) . I was there a little over 2 weeks and I stayed and taught surfing in Muizenburg, which is the southern western cape of South Africa and very close to Cape Town.

What were the 3 biggest highlights from your trip?

1. Working with the kids and the community of South Africa by teaching and sharing my love and passion for surfing and the ocean.
2. Exploring the culture of South Africa.
3. Scoring some good surf with all the rad locals that I met out there.

How do you feel surfing impacted the the kids?

I feel like surfing was a release for those kids. It was the best part of their day and all they seemed to look forward to. No matter the conditions they were always amped to get their wet suits out and hit the water. It was their way of escape from any hardships they were dealing with at school or at home in the townships. Surfing is an unexplainable feeling and those kids got exactly that from surfing.

What was their initial reaction to the Slyde Handboards?

Their reaction to the Slyde Handboards that I brought wasn't anything other than how big the board was. Right by the office that the kids and volunteers walk from and to the beach everyday is a bodysurfing shop called Rolling Wood. They make their own and sell different style wooden Handboards in there. I was able to share some of my knowledge as well as learn from them. The kids had never used a handboard or even really knew what bodysurfing was so they were all excited to learn how to handboard. 

What was the best piece of advice you'd give someone heading on a surf trip to South Africa?

My best advice to anyone going to South Africa to surf is to have fun and be willing to work and share your knowledge with others. People are so curious to hear your story and where your from. Enjoy the culture and connect with the people there, that's how you make the best out of it.

Any plans to go back? 

I am definitely planning to go back soon and hopefully take my brother with me, I know he would love the surf and the people there.

Check out Makena's heartwarming video below teaching the kids how to handboard.
Slyde Team Rider Makena Magro Spreads The Stoke In South Africa

Slyde Team Rider Makena Magro Spreads The Stoke In South Africa

Michelle Michalak
Michelle Michalak

Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.


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