The Company We Keep is a column on the CN&CO blog that profiles some of the most interesting people in our networks. Here we share the details of the lives of people we know, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of our society and proving that people truly are at the heart of everything we do.

Over the December/January break, my family decided to hire some surfboards from a small surf school in Jeffreys Bay, we thought we would try to teach ourselves to surf and attempt to catch some killer waves.

A no-brainer (As J-bay is one of the best surfs spots in the world) until we were out in the surf, tackling the waves, being dunked and thrown around like a dirty Deadreck T-shirt in a washing machine. I thought, surely it cannot be this difficult, then I remembered my mate Jono Bruton, a local surfer, entrepreneur and overall legend from East London, who together with his mate Tyrell Johnson and Brett Sanderson (Cape Town) founded an impressive and inspiring initiative called Salty Hour

Salty Hour is an hour of free surfing coaching by experienced surfers at specific beaches. The benefit of surfing during this hour is that you will receive some cool tips on how to improve your surfing from experienced surfers. Salty Hour was founded in 2015, Gonubie, East London. Both Jono and Tyrell have grown up surfing Gonubie from a very young age and with 40+ years of surfing between them collectively.

“Many people won’t experience the feeling of riding a wave in their lifetime. For many reasons, some obvious and some not so obvious. Fear of the unknown, fear of the ocean, poverty, no accessibility to equipment or confidence issues.” says Jono Bruton. 

At Salty Hour they broke down most of those barriers by creating an environment to educate beginner surfers about the ocean, create comfort by guiding them in the water, building confidence in the water and providing the equipment required to ride that very first wave.

Jono says they love the saying “The best things in life are free” and what better way to pay homage to the surfing lifestyle by passing on the stoke!

“In many instances, first-time surfers of Salty Hour have gone on to continue surfing, falling in love with our magnificent lifestyle and some have even gone on to represent at a provincial and national level of surfing competitively. Others simply do not return but leave with a memory of riding a wave for the very first time. It really is bucket list kinda stuff”, Chirps Jono.

When asked if there is an age limit, Jono replied, “Our youngest Salty has been 3 years old and our eldest Salty 76 years old. Age, race and social class are not a barrier, rich or poor we do not care. Anyone can join and that is what separates us from other “charitable” surf schools” 

Most of our regular readers will know Jono through his surf and lifestyle brand – Dead Reckoning, where everything he manufactures is proudly South African, and created locally. Many of Jono’s designs are hand-drawn by Jono himself and Deadreck together with EasyEquities are sponsors of Salty Hour. Jono also makes cool sh1t happen at EasyEquities, the cheapest online investment platform in SA. As you can see, he is a man of many talents, and if ever you are in East London, be sure to go for a salty hour session.  If you haven’t yet checked out his online store DeadReckoning, do yourself a favour and click through

If you would like to volunteer, contribute or want to stay tuned to times and updates for Salty Hour, go check out their Facebook page