Reporters on the Job
Nobel de Castro
• Surf's Up, Dude: Sometimes the life of a foreign correspondent requires great sacrifices and tremendous risks. Sometimes it's just plain fun.
Correspondent Danna Harman found herself in the latter category enjoying a beautiful December morning on a South African beach. Her assignment was to do a story about Gary Kleynhans, who is changing the lives of poor street kids by teaching them how to surf.
"I'm sitting in a movie-perfect rundown beachfront cafe, sipping fresh OJ, and interviewing a very good-looking surfer dude about his life. Things could be a lot worse," says Danna.
"Suddenly, in the middle of the interview, Gary gets up and says, 'Ya know what? Ya gotta go out on the waves and see this whole thing for yourself.'
"The next thing I know I'm squeezing into a wet suit and heading out with John De Castro, a champion surfer who works with Gary. Now, I grew up in Jerusalem and New York, neither is what you'd consider a surfing mecca. And yet, by the end of an hour I managed to stand up and ride some waves," she says.
Alas, Danna's instructor told her that she looked "ridiculous" because she was holding her arms out as she rode.
"Still, I felt like a million bucks and was sure that at any moment someone was going to show up and cast me in Step Into Liquid [a 2003 surfer movie], II," she says.
"Of course," she confesses, "between working on my style and getting whacked in the back of the head with my own surfboard and swallowing enormous quantities of seawater, it took me a while to get back on land and the whole reporting thing."
– David Clark Scott