Such an amazing time spent with the fun-loving and free-spirited youth of West-Costa Mesa! For the second year in a row, we spent three days with the organization SOY (Save Our Youth) teaching kids how to surf as part of our Give Back Series.
Save Our Youth was founded on the idea that teenagers needed an alternative to gangs and the temptation of the streets. As a non-profit agency providing a worthwhile option to an at-risk lifestyle, SOY provides a challenging and healthy environment where teens receive mentoring, tutoring, and college preparedness.
Each morning we met about fifteen kids at Orange Street @ 7am. Despite waking up early the kids were absolutely fired up and ready to go! Case in point, some of them were so eager to surf that they’d often be in the water before I could even put my wetsuit on. Mother nature blessed us with perfect waves & conditions with 2-4ft waves and an ocean temp of 68 degrees.
After practicing our technique on the beach we hit the waves for a solid 3 hours or more of surfing, bodysurfing, and boogie boarding! For most of the kids it was their first time surfing… They blew my mind! Many of them were getting up and taking waves all the way to the sand as if they’d been doing it for their entire life. I’d often joke with the kids, “Are you sure this isn’t your first time surfing??”.
Volcom employees like Richie, Jake Hoose, Jack Morrisey, Deniz Pasinli, Jamie Gutierrez, McKenna Gunderson, and Katie from The FrogHouse volunteered as surf instructors. Also, surfboards were borrowed from Richie and The Froghouse. Thanks to everyone who helped out!!
We surfed until we got hungry and then came in for a tasty breakfast from Shirley’s: bagels, coffee, and orange juice. YUM! We filled up on caffeine and didn’t waste anytime getting back in the water.
I have been giving surf lessons to family and friends for the past three years. Surfing with the SOY kids is special; they are so cool!! First off, they’re fearless and always wanted the biggest and gnarliest waves. Also, each and every one of them is kindhearted and respectful to their peers and environment. Finally, it seems like they constantly radiate good vibes and have a fun time no matter what situation they’re in.
The Save Our Youth mission is: nurturing the teen community to make positive decisions in life. This is evident in the way the kids were acting; I believe that the organization has done an exceptional job in providing an environment for the kids to mature and become well-rounded citizens in their community.
Check out these photos that capture the excitement!