This summer, the Red Herrings partnered with Semente Surf School and Associação de Artistas Urbanos e de Transformação Social to introduce children from Alto da Cova da Moura to surfing.
Alto da Cova da Moura is a neighbourhood in the municipality of Amadora. It is the largest and oldest enclave of migrant population existing in the metropolitan area of Lisbon with a population of around 5,000 from very diverse cultural and ethnic origins (primarily from Cape Verde, but also Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Eastern Europe, and Brazil)
On Friday 16 July, we introduced to surfing eight children from Alto da Cova da Moura, Luana, Daniela, Mariana, Kiara, Cristian, Kevin, Enzo and Gabriel.
Miguel, our spotter and Lourenço’s business partner at Semente Surf School, picked the children up at 09:00 and took them to Ericeira. There, they were treated to a private tour of Semente’s surfboard factory at the hands of Nick Uricchio, Semente’s co-founder and one of Portugal’s most revered shapers.
We then picked-up surfboards and wetsuits and proceeded to Praia da Foz do Sizandro in Santa Cruz. After a quick induction and warm-up, Murilo, Julian, Mimi, and I joined Miguel in the water to push the children in their first waves, retrieve boards, and keep the line-up more or less organised.
A couple of hours into the session, children and instructors started displaying signs of exhaustion. That’s when we started bodysurfing, playing beach tennis and football, and generally goofing around with the kids before we sat down for a well-deserved picnic prepared by Margarida and Donna.
Before we left back to Lisbon, Murilo emptied the beach café of all its pastries so the kids could end the day on a (sugar) high and make a hell of Miguel’s 45 minutes’ drive back to Cova da Moura.
This was our first surf experience with children. We were close to cancelling it when Lourenço was exposed to COVID-19 and had to quarantine. But after Miguel volunteered to replace Lourenço, everything started falling into place. And with the help of our volunteers Ana, Murilo, Julian, Mimi, and Pedro, the day went by very smoothly.
We couldn’t be happier with the way events unfolded. We were particularly delighted with the enthusiasm, courage, and good disposition with which the children threw themselves into their first waves. Which, frankly, is all that matters!