The Surfers Healing Foundation – Hawai’i Island Chapter will be hosting a 2 – day event for children with Autism and other disabilities. The first event is scheduled for Friday, November 25th at Hilo’s Palace Theater from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited to meet the founders of Surfers Healing, register for the surf camp and enjoy a short documentary surf filmed titled “Clay Marzo: Just Add Water”, produced and directed by Strider Wasilewski and Jamie Tlerney. An inspiring surf movie featuring Clay Marzo- a 22 year-old professional surfer from Maui who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism in December 2007. Admission is free. Marzo is currently on the World Surfing Tour.
On Saturday, November 26th, the Honoli’i Paka Surf Gathering and Surf Camp for children with Autism and other disabilities will be held on at Honoli’i Beach Park beginning at 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This alcohol and tobacco – free family event is sponsored by the Hawai’i Island Chapter of Surfers Healing, a national organization started 13 years ago in Malibu, California to share the unique experience of surfing with children with autism. An estimated 300 people are expected at Honoli’i, including approximately 75 children. Worldwide, over 2,000 children per year participate in Surfers Healing Camps.
Families with children with autism or other disabilities are invited to spend a day surfing and enjoying the beach. Boards and safety vests will be provided. The event is made possible through a partnership of the Hawai’i County Department of Parks & Recreation, Basic Image Productions and Hulakai Surfboards.
Kalani Kahalioumi, who has been a surf instructor at Surfers Healing events on the East and West Coasts, said the experience of surfing makes the youngsters “glow,” and they ask to go back out to surf the waves over and over. “Something magical happens when they ride a wave,” said Kahalioumi. “Once you get them standing on the wave, standing up, they light up. Part of it is the surfer, but most of it is done by Mother Nature, the surf. What is really touching is when one kid brings 30 family members to the beach. They all support this one child, and when they see their child surfing, when you bring the kid to the beach when they finish the ride, the parents are in tears,” Kahalioumi said.
For more information or to sign up for the event, visit www.surfershealing.org.