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Turn up the Flame

Brittany Gadd is a surfer on a mission. She’s passionate about riding waves. She’s also a new era surfer who cares deeply about preserving the natural resources that the ocean provides.

Brittany Gadd, in her last year of school at Hillcrest High, lives a half hour from the beach. If you’re a committed surfer that distance could be a challenge. Don’t get it wrong, residing ‘up the hill’ has a lot going for it. Lots of space, fresh air and pretty cool summers makes up for the run into Durban’s town beaches. 

But, at 5.30 every Saturday, come rain shine, onshore or offshore, Brittany is in the carpark at North Beach waiting to  meet her mentor and coach Spider Murphy to arrive. What’s more there are no Sunday sleep-ins either, Sunday is no different to Saturday. Spin as Spider is known, is a hard task master who demands discipline and commitment from his charges. She’s been doing this for four years, determined to soak up all the sage advice the master has offer and then put it to practice. Having selfless parents help a lot with the logistics. 

Brittany represents and path finds the way for young surfers of all descriptions that have in common the fact that they were born or nearly born in the twenty first century. She misses the label ’21st Century South African surfer’ by only a few months.

Since 2015 she has competed successfully, winning the Under 15 Grom Games title that year. This year, 2018 she placed third in the SA longboard champs.

Not ready to chose between long or short boarding, she flips between the two with consummate ease. She wont leave home without both her trusty Safari boards. 

There is far more to Brittany than her contest record. Serenity, confidence, intelligence, integrity and strength of will shine brightly through her blue eyes. Her value systems bear testimony to her upbringing and the time her parents have given up to help her realize her dreams. 

Any young aspiring surfer, male or female, might have a close look at how Brittany goes about the business of being a surfer. You’ll learn a lot.

She’s also passionate about the environment and especially the menace of plastic to the planet’s oceans. Ultimately the mess that there now is going to be her and her age group’s problem in the not too distant future.

© PATRICK FLANAGAN /KITCHEN WINDOW 2018.

PHOTOS DI PARKES AND PATRICK FLANAGAN

ALL BLOCK PHOTOS EXPAND

INSPIRATION:

“Bethany Hamilton is my ultimate hero because she hasn’t allowed for shark attack to alter her life goal of becoming one of the best surfers in the world.

She has gone on to win numerous events and continuously strive to be the best that she can.

She doesn’t see herself as being anything less than what she can be and encourages people all around the world to do the same.

She is the reason I started surfing.”

To that old codger and the micro grom who dropped in on her when these pics were taken, don’t do it too often, because she’ll show you up again like she did then.