THE GROM WITH THE BIG HEART
In 2014, peninsula local Winter Vincent began his charitable work assisting Waves For Water - a not-for-profit organisation that launched a project where travellers carry water filters with them overseas to developing countries, providing people in need with clean water.
The 12-year-old philanthropist organised the first 'Surf To School' mufti day - a fundraiser where students dress up in surf gear instead of their uniforms and donate a gold coin. Winter's school, Manly Village Public, ended up raising $4000 for his 2014 Waves For Water initiative.
The inspiration behind his mission began when he was nine years old after he saw an Instagram post on World Water Day (March 22) where professional surfers were helping people while they travelled and surfed perfect waves.
"In the same week at school, I was asked to write a speech about how kids can make a difference in the world," Winter explains. "I decided to talk about Waves For Water and how I wanted to prove that kids really can make a difference."
Now, more than 30 schools worldwide have adopted his Surf To School idea, raising a combined total of $40,000 and providing access to fresh drinking water to more than 20,000 people in less fortunate countries.
"I started surfing when I was four and a half when my dad started easing me into the surf so I could get used to it," Winter tells Peninsula Living.
"Soon he was pushing me onto the waves. I loved it straight away. Being in the surf feels natural.'" Winter's passion for surfing transcends into his passion for helping others. After the first time his school raised money for water filters. Winter travelled to Tiop Village on the island of Siberut, Mentawai islands in Indonesia with the goods.
“I chose this area because I had heard of the perfect waves there, but also that one in five kids under the age of five were dying from drinking dirty water in the region. I couldn't believe it,” he reveals.
Winter returned to the Mentawai islands for his fourth clean water mission with Waves For Water in June.
In September, he will travel to California, USA, to visit other schools that have adopted his Surf To School initiative.
“I like it how every school has done it a bit differently, has had its own personality, but they have all shown how lots of enthusiasm, lots of fun, and lots of little bits of spare change add up to make a difference in people's lives.”
Winter says his family, the teachers at Manly Village Public School and his surfing sponsor, Hurley, have all been major supporters in helping him launch Surf To School and spread the word globally.
"My dad believes in me 100 percent. He taught me that thought is only thought and it doesn't get anything done. You've got to go and put your thoughts into action,” he smiles.