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30 DAYS 30 SURFS

A group of local surfers are hitting the ocean every day this month to raise money and awareness.

Led by women's national champion Saffi Vette, Team Aotearoa are part of SurfAid's Make a Wave international challenge.

Vette, an ambassador for SurfAid, said it was exciting to be a part of a good cause that aligns with her ambitions as a professional surfer.

“I've made an oath to surf every day for an organisation that is helping raise funds for children and families in Indonesia with making sure they can get some basic healthcare, water and facilities.”

SurfAid, a not-for-profit group set up by three Gisborne mates more than 20 years ago works in the Mentawai Islands, Solomon Islands and in Mexico to improve communities' health while respecting indigenous cultures and traditions.

It has grown to become a network of partners who support it through fundraising and the donation of their time and talent to ultimately help women and children experiencing extreme poverty and preventable illnesses.

Saffi said it is a privilege to surf daily, an experience enhanced by the lockdown.

She is still recruiting for her team, who are battling for a top spot on the leaderboard for the total amount raised.

Challenge organisers initially had a goal of raising $100,000 but this was eclipsed before the challenge started on September 1.

Less than a week into the challenge, almost $300,000 has been donated.

“It's pretty amazing how generous people are being towards this fundraiser,” Saffi said.

With the start of Level 3 coinciding with the beginning of the challenge, her first surf was difficult.

“It was quite a bizarre feeling. You're almost too excited to be in the water that you're not really focusing on actually surfing.”

make a wave: Hannah Kohn (left) and Saffi Vette are part of Team Aotearoa for the Surf Aid fundraiser Make a Wave Challenge. Hundreds of surfers in several countries are taking part in the event — one of them surfing on a different board every day over September. Picture supplied