The Elbow Project Surfs the Wave of Goodwill During COVID-19

Brought together by their love of the ocean and their search for the perfect wave, surfers share a strong bond, governed by a culture of kinship and kindness. Therefore, it’s no surprise that while lockdown is keeping them off the beaches, their attention has turned to helping each other. For local surf brand, Mami Wata, this means donating 100% of their profits from sales on their online store to supporting grassroots African surf businesses
impacted by COVID-19. At a time when most businesses are solely focussed on their own survival, this proudly South African company embodies the spirit of “ubuntu” and lending a hand to those in need.

“Times are tough and we want to lend a hand or, since hands are off-limits, an elbow, to our fellow African surfpreneurs through The Elbow Project. All of the profits from ANY of our products purchased online in April will go towards African surf entrepreneurs that either operate in countries that do not provide social or economic safety nets or own businesses that are too informal to qualify for help”, says Nick Dutton, Mami Wata Founder and CEO.

All profits from their range of African made surfboards, prints and vibrant surf apparel will go towards keeping African businesses like Cebo’s Surf Report and The West Factory afloat. And, to add further icing on the cake, Mami Wata will throw in a free cap with any purchase. So visit to find out more and
shop online, and help out one of these great African surf enterprises.
The surf entrepreneurs that will benefit from this initiative include:

Cebo’s Surf Report, Durban, South Africa

Cebo Mafuna, a graduate of the Surfers Not Street Children programme, is well known along the ‘Golden Mile’ of Durban’s city beaches. On any given morning, you’ll find him waiting tables the iconic Durban Surf Lifesaving Club. However, as well as being a top-notch waiter, and a talented goofy-foot, he’s also a promising young entrepreneur. As the creator of a WhatsApp Surf Report, many Durban Surf regulars rely on him to let
them know when the waves are up. For just R50 ($2.50) a month, Cebo walks along Durban’s North Pier and sends frequent video updates of the ever-changing surf conditions to his digital following. Cebo’s Surf Report delivers a very useful and cost-effective service to local surfers, that easily trumps the grainy, static webcams.

However, with the coffee shop closed and surfing prohibited during lockdown Cebo is unable to earn a living and faces an uncertain financial future.

The West Factory, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire

Founded in 2016, The West Factory is a surfboard workshop dedicated to the rise and development of surf culture in West Africa. They build beautiful, cost-effective surfboards while teaching board shaping techniques and creating jobs. They also support the community and every surfboard that is made and sold by the West Factory contributes to a
scholarship fund and educational packs for the local children. The enterprise strives to create an African surf and beach culture, in which people can make their own boards and don’t have to rely on costly surf equipment from California, Australia and Europe.

Apish Tshetsha, Surf coach and tour guide, Cape Town 

Apish Tshetsha is a surf coach and project leader at Waves for Change in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. This award-winning Surf Therapy programme aims to improve the wellbeing and emotional stability of young people who have been adversely affected by poverty, violence and abuse. Through Airbnb, Apish has been offering Surf and Social Impact Experiences for tourists, to supplement his income. His guided tours are extremely popular and very highly rated. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, this business has dried up.

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