This is Daniel, 14 years old from Sikakap on Pagai Utara (the next island south of Sipora). If you want to meet him your best bet is to go for a surf because every spare second Daniel has he spends surfing. And he’s ripping. There isn’t a local keener than this boy. Even when there are no waves Daniel is practising his barrel riding…just on land, as the photo shows!
Daniel is a typical grom, stoked on surfing and chasing girls. But that is where the similarities end. Both Daniel’s parents died in the tsunami of October 2010. Luckily a family from Katiet adopted Daniel and he now lives with them. Daniel doesn’t go to school as it is not free in Indonesia and the family that took him in can’t afford to pay. Instead Daniel works selling the wooden souvenirs that he has learnt to make to visiting surf charter boats. He paddles his canoe out whenever he sees a boat approaching and hopes to sell a few.
Daniel is a real character. He never sits down for more than a second, has the cheekiest smile around, loves to make you laugh and cracks himself up most of the time. Give him a task to do and he jumps at it, proud that you’ve given him the chance to demonstrate his sense of responsibility. I love hanging out with him and he’s always pestering me to go for a surf with him or just have a laugh. I guess he likes the company. He’s curious about everything and wants to know everything. He tells me that surfing always makes him feel good and gives him a sense of security. The ocean is always there, it’s one of a very few constants in his life. An amazing attitude considering it took the life of his parents. But Daniel doesn’t dwell on this. He gets on and makes the best of the hand he’s been dealt. He truly is a ripper….in all aspects of life. Ayo Ayo Daniel!