shaun tomson

Click the photo above to hear Shaun Tomson’s message about surfing in the 100 Wave Challenge

The Inertia

This Saturday, September 23rd, more than 175 surfers will gather at Mission Beach, celebrating their efforts to raise $425,000 for the Boys to Men Mentoring Network in the 100 Wave Challenge. Each surfer raises $1,000 or more and surfs 100 Waves. Many donations are sent based on the surfer’s wave count, making it the equivalent of a surf-a-thon. If everything follows past event trends, we’ll collectively clear half a million dollars by the end of the fundraising window.

So where does this money go? The Boys to Men Mentoring Network is a non-profit organization that creates an on-campus after-school mentoring program an hour a week, through 44 different weekly meetings in 33 different high schools and middle schools across the county. The kids are referred by parents, friends, teachers, school counselors, principals, therapists, judges, and juvenile hall programs, and given the option to attend at their own free will. It’s a place where vetted mentors share their past trials and triumphs in an effort to give youth a place to talk about what’s happening in their lives. Altogether, there are Boys to Men Mentoring Network Chapters across 19 states and several international locations.

To date, more than 800 kids (mostly boys) are in San Diego’s Boys to Men Chapter. These are the kids looking for a way out of a dead-end life. The scary fact is that being a voluntary program, these kids are asking for help as young as 8-10 years old. These are the children that are falling through the cracks. They’re stealing, getting caught up in gang activity, drugs and alcohol, and skipping school. Most have trouble getting a hot meal at home. And the common denominator in their plight is a staggering statistic. 75% of these boys have no father figure or positive male role model at home.

Some of the amazing young men that are part of the Boys to Men Mentoring program. Photo: Immersivephotos.com

How are fatherless teens affected later in life?
-94% of the prison population are men
-93% of men in the prison system grew up without a father.
-In San Diego County alone, there are 49,937 boys growing up in homes without fathers.
-A boy without a dad in his life is 20 times more likely to end up in prison, 10 times more likely to abuse drugs and 9 times more likely to drop out of high school.

“It’s a very, very sad indictment of our society,” Shaun Tomson says.

Through the 100 Waves Challenge and the Boys to Men program, mentors let their own guard down to show they’re in a safe place and share what’s really going on in their lives. Mentors share their struggles in life, what led them down their own road, and how they overcame adversity. More than just a positive male role model, mentors show these boys that somebody cares, that these boys are worthy of love. After just one year of weekly meetings, Boys to Men boys get an average of 27% better grades and 85% fewer disciplinary issues.

This is the fourth year that former World Champion Shaun Tomson has been the face of the 100 Wave Challenge, and of course, a top five fundraiser for the event. Shaun’s book “The Code” dives deeper into a design for living that aligns with the pillars of Boys to Men. This event and the mentorship are close to his heart and he has quickly become a part of the 100 Wave family. This is also the third year in a row for former world tour veteran and current XXL Wave Tour standout, Damien Hobgood. He currently resides in Encinitas with his supportive family, and as a stoked father, the 100 Wave Challenge and Boys to Men Mentoring Network are family to him as well. The newest addition to the mix is phenom surfboard shaper and heir to the legendary shaping bay of Ben Aipa, Duke Aipa, who is also back for his third year in the event.

Damien Hobgood, surfing for a great cause

So how do we get involved? You can donate directly to the 100 Wave Challenge through their secure event website. You can help the program reach their $425,000 goal and even expand the mentoring network to your own local middle schools and high schools. If you’re short on funds, no worries, we need all hands on deck for volunteers the day of the event. Are you a grand slam fundraiser? Jump on board last minute and raise a cool $1000 for the cause. These kids are the future of San Diego.

Editor’s Note: You can learn more about the 100 Wave Challenge online here. You can also donate directly to the author’s fundraising efforts as a 5th year 100 Wave Challenge surfer, who has raised nearly $3,000 this year, here.

Volunteers getting ready for the 100 Wave Challenge. Photo: Doug Sooley


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