The Kalemba Skim Project

Words by Sergio Gil ‘Shein’
Translation assistant: Agueda Quintals

A fantasy. A fairytale where crabs look after the waves in the middle of the night and sand glows in the darkness. A dream come true for a group of great people with fighting hearts and committed skimmers. That is the summary of an unforgettable event and some wonderful days that will stay forever, no matter what happens, in the African heart of Angola.

I´m writing these words while we are having a chat after a perfect meal by the sea where everything began. After a memorable trip, Tchyina Matos tell us how he discovered a bunch of Angolan guys doing acrobatics with wooden boards when reaching the breaking waves on one of the beaches of Luanda three years ago. That the wooden boards where made by them here in Ilha: Kalemba Skim, which means “Big and Strong Wave”, was born in that precise instant; when I started taking photos and talking with them.  I researched about skimboarding, looking for information on the Internet and talking with several people from the skimboarding world back in Portugal, like Joao or Miguel.

After a while, and still fighting for that dream, with really clear ideas and a project built by a group of people that everyday give part of their lives to do something better through skimboarding, the time to make the event something memorable had come last weekend on the beach of Ledo Cape, in front of the Doce Mar Complex.

Only a few privileged, among whom I include myself (and I do thanks Thcyina for that), were lucky enough to live such an authentically pure adventure, traveling to the African Continent with the best treatment a skimmer could ever receive, beyond material luxuries, which were also included.

Now, just a day after, we have to keep working as hard as before, to do something better from this, and, if it´s possible, to do something with a bigger effect.

As Tchyina says, The Kalemba project was officially born “around six months after that first meeting. The aim of this project is to decrease the criminality between teenagers on the streets of Luanda by doing extreme sports, in this case the skimboarding”. The main goal is to keep the teenagers busy and motivated daily, so that we can avoid their contact with any drug.

“Some time after that, Patricia Tadeia and you wrote the articles about the association that made the project popular and hopefully the initial movement gained a lot of support…” Different people donated boards so that the boys could skim. This was all thanks to people like Miguel, Joao, Mega, Morgan, Calle, Hugo and Dave. The boards that they donated in that time (which are some of the ones that the teenagers use now) are what allow the whole project to keep evolving and their skimboarding skills increasing, like for instance Adelino”.

I wrote this article before coming back, and now, almost three weeks after, the comfortable feeling that remains is even better.

With a lot of work done and a lot of work to do, all the help received will always be important. The Kalemba Skim Project keeps growing every minute.  The amount of children is increasing, the project is improving, and of course, organizing events like the one I tried to reflect on the video that I recorded. An Adventure that for a lot of us means to reach for goals and dreams, giving us the energy to keep supporting this project as much as possible, which was created for the children, where they receive a cultural education while they learn values about a healthy lifestyle, far from unlikely habits such as taking drugs, and with a passion for a sport that they haved loved for years, skimboarding.

Visiting Angola is not easy,  a visa is required, bookings, vaccines and a lot of money are also required. This is the reason why projects like this help to open the doors to reach to this wonderful region. Thanks to important supporters and partners like Sumol, The Government for Angola, Doce Mar, Iberia and Taag, Burn and Nauticos, the trip becomes less complicated.

Everything said, there are already people working to bring closer the world of skimboarding to Angola, and to bring awareness of Angola to skimboarders all over the world…maybe even the UST? Why not?

Extraordinary and nothing else. Adding any more comments would not make any difference. So, there it is: Extraordinary.

For my part if I´m able, I will come back.