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Missionsurf is a series of surfing programmes created by Misión México Children’s Refuge in an effort to help children from backgrounds of abuse and extreme poverty through the healing powers of surfing.

The project will also create opportunities that will benefit the children their home, Misión México, and the community of Tapachula, Mexico where the refuge is located.

Australian couple, Pam and Alan Skuse, set up the Misión México refuge in 2001 and since then it has provided a safe, loving, family home and opportunities for education to over 300 children.

Misión México has established a unique surfing community which they have pioneered in Tapachula, a coastal city with no other wave riders.

Most of the children had never seen the ocean or knew how to swim before their arrival at Misión México. But thanks to Pam and Alan’s commitment to teach the kids about water safety and basic lifesaving skills, the ocean is not just a place of fun to these children, but also, an escape from what life used to be.

Antonio and Yimmy enjoying Tapachulas waves

Missionsurf’s aim is to become a surf identity in the area, using the surf potential of the local beach for positive community outcomes. The programme is a 3-5 year project and includes the following progressive elements:

• Surf School (launched in 2011)
• Surf Camp and Retail Shop
• Surfboard Repair Workshop
• Restaurant
• Life Guard Services

Moacir Zeledon, now 22 years old, was abandoned at Misión México when he was a young teenager, by his mother when she crossed the border to the US in search of a better life. Along with Pam and Alan he established the Surf School in 2011; “Missionsurf has the real potential of making a difference and we are witnessing how a new generation of surfers flourished in Mexico.”

Alan Skuse commented further on Missionsurf; “The aim of the Misión México Surfing Programme is to introduce disadvantaged kids to surfing as a lifestyle in an effort to keep them away from drugs and from the streets. It will focus on giving them a second chance to enjoy their childhood along with the opportunities to live in a safe family environment and to attend school. The ultimate goal is to restore them back into society as a leading new generation.”

Missionsurf will benefit the children with opportunities for work experience and employment opportunities. It will further benefit the community of Tapachula through teaching the community about water safety, surfing skills and environmental awareness.

Jennifer 6 years old loving Missionsurf

To top it off, Missionsurf has also made an impact on the big screen. Misión México (UK) will screen their award winning documentary Somewhere Near Tapachula at the Wave North Surf festival, in connection with the UK Pro Surf Tour Championships, on Thursday 25th, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October in Thurso. Directed and produced by Australian surfing film makers Stefan Hunt and Jonno Durrant, this documentary follows the lives of this unique surfing community of children living at the Misión México refuge.

Ali, an 8 year old surfer

Deborah Grossman, Chairman of the Misión México (UK) Board, is extremely excited to bring the documentary to Thurso in October. She commented “Misión México (UK) is very proud to join the Wave North festival this year to celebrate surfing communities all over the world. Having volunteered at the Misión México children’s refuge since 2007, I have seen the transformative power of surfing first hand and this documentary offers a snap shot of how this community of orphaned, abandoned, abused and disadvantaged children find love, life and hope through their family, their education and through surfing”.

The Missionsurf programme first kicked off thanks to the financial support of the Innis Charitable foundation, surf equipment donations by Global Surf Industries and more recently the donation of land to build the surf camp by Guzman y Gomez. Now Misión México and Missionsurf are in the search of like-minded organisations to sponsor this unique surfing programme.

For more information visit the Facebook page or the web site.

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