Surfrider Spirit Sessions With Ezra Rodriguez and Hawaiian South Shore
Surfrider Spirit Sessions were created in 2006 through a collaboration between executive director Cynthia Y.H. Deroisier and Girl’s Court therapist Emma Pavich. Inspired by Deroisier’s book “The Surfer Spirit,” Pavich asked Deroisier to join her in creating a program that used surfing as a platform to reach at-risk children.
In 2009, Surfline Spirit Sessions became a registered, independent non-profit corporation, and it received its 501©(3) status in 2010. It provides six events each year for 100 Oahu youth (during spring, summer, and fall), exposing them to the challenging and empowering gift of surfing. The goal is to cultivate “Champions in Training” through one-on-one and group mentorship, healthy athletic and adrenaline-based outlets, cultural and environmental awareness, and improved self-esteem—needs that were expressed by the Hawaii State Family Court judges, probation officers, and counselors.
Legendary pro longboarder Ezra Rodriguez is a mentor and ambassador for the Surfrider Spirit Sessions and offers his time to help run events and mentor youth. He invited us to join them in supporting the July 24 graduation session, so we went out and spent the day with a bunch of stoked kids who were being exposed to the beauty of surfing. It was such a rad experience! 😊 There was so much positivity and so much potential in these kids. Even though many of them come from disadvantaged families or have experienced major challenges in their young lives, they embrace being with great adult role models and being mentored to become surfers and successful young citizens in our community.
In addition to hanging with the kids and sharing a bunch of waves, we also had the privilege of donating a bunch of backpacks to them, part of the various giveaways and stoke programs that are involved with the Spirit Sessions. It was so fulfilling to see how happy and thankful they were, even for something so small. It only inspired us to be more involved and to support them more in the future.
The next Surfrider Spirit Session starts September 4th, and I’d encourage you all to check out the event and see how you can be involved or support the mission (www.surferspirit.org). Surfing has given so much to so many of us—it has literally shaped our lives, our families, and our businesses—and it’s so easy for us to take a bit of time out of our lives and give back through surfing. Plus, what’s better than watching the next generation discover the stoke and healing power of surfing! I hope to see you all at the next event.
Let’s help create “Champions in Training” together!