Skimboarding is a unique sport. Unlike surfing, you don’t have to wait for the right day or keep your eye out for the perfect wave. You can head down to the shore at any time and spend all day on the board.
When I was young, my dad bought me and my siblings bodyboards, which we used to run, jump and skim across our pool. Later on, when I became a lifeguard, my fellow lifeguards and I would spend the dead hours while on patrol at the beach skimming across the sand on our bodyboards.
When I moved from Port Shepstone to Cape Town, I met a few guys who were using really fancy, skinny-shaped boards to do exactly what I had been doing for many years. Though these types of boards weren’t made in South Africa at the time, I didn’t let that discourage me. I got in touch with a board maker in Portugal and I’ve been skimboarding ever since.
I’ve learned, not just through skimboarding, that community is a very important part of life. While growing up, my family used to go to a Catholic church — that is, until my mom started bringing us to a Christian church. That was where I first learned about having a relationship with Jesus. I remember being in Sunday school and every time the teachers would ask who wanted to accept Jesus into their heart, I would raise my hand. I wanted to be sure I was saved.
But as I grew up and moved out of my parents’ house, I realized that while my mom was a spiritual rock, my own relationship with God wasn’t as strong as I thought. That’s when I found a new church and got plugged into a strong Christian community. It was there that I felt challenged in my faith; I began growing as a Christ-follower and I started serving alongside my Christian community. And I’ve been growing ever since. On my own I wasn’t able to stay strong in my faith, but surrounded by a body of believers, I’ve experienced significant growth and a sense of belonging.
I’ve found that hanging around other Christians is very inspirational. Watching them be on mission for Christ makes me want to do the same. I don’t know if there are a lot of Christian skimboarders. If there are, they seem to be more undercover. Because the skimming community is so small, it would be so cool if it was transformed by the Gospel. Then when new skimmers joined the community, we could be very missional in influencing our culture.
I’m not always the most vocal person, but I want others to see my faith through my actions. And when opportunities for conversations about faith come up, I want to take full advantage of those, whether I’m at work, at church or at the beach. Christ and His community changed my life, I want others to experience that too.
— Cameron Sharp, South African skimboarder
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.