[Photographs by Michael Magers]
KABIC BEACH, Haiti—
The kids can surf. They come after school, a group of a dozen or more, to ride the waves in the azure waters off Kabic Beach, not far from Jacmel, the country’s cultural capital. When they were younger, they learned to body-board on discarded planks of wood they found near the shore. Then came the foreigners who gave them real boards and taught them to stand on them, and now the kids make it look effortless, as though they’ve surfed since birth.
They are members of Surf Haiti, a small organization that teaches other locals how to ride, offers lessons to visitors, rents boards, and cleans up the beach. The group, which has 23 members ranging in age from 11 to 21, was formed in 2010 here on Haiti’s southern coast. The mission was to help the local kids capitalize on tourists drawn to the beaches and palm trees, the varied surf breaks—beach, reef, and rock—and the uncrowded waves.