The short film above is about Georgia Cook, a girl from Tennessee with huge ambitions in life. She is an avid surfer, humanitarian, sister, public speaker, role model and a huge giver of love! Enjoy her story.
You came down from Tennessee, what a beautiful place, neat as can be.
A minor setback for you to be so very far from the sea.
Cosmic irony, twist of fate, a few of Scott Brill’s innate traits, and now you’re here surfing to compete.
When you left our beach, we thought it a real treat, what you do bringing salvation to the feet.
Your message of sharing love a dire need. – Shea Lopez
Every once in a while, you come across something or someone that really gives you a great perspective on life. For me it was meeting Georgia Cook, a 13 year old girl from Tennessee and an avid surfer, sister, student, role model and true inspiration to the world. Georgia’s parents, John and Rene, are as cool and collected as they come and the younger sisters Sadie and Celia Tate are following in Georgia’s foot steps.
I have been a surfer for 35 years now, and I am always drawn towards great stories that stem from the ocean. I was approached by longtime Florida native and legend Scott Brill to meet this interesting and inspiring family about a year and a half ago. After getting to know them a bit more I was amazed of all the positivity and generosity this family created. I must say I have been blessed to have had the privilege to bring The Cooks into my life. The following short story is from Georgia’s mom Rene. -Patrick “Tupat” Eichstaedt
From the time Georgia was very young, sheʼs always been exceptional – from the way she sees the world to her passion for surfing despite living so far from the coast. Georgia is the oldest of three girls, and her younger sisters Sadie and Celia Tate are her biggest cheerleaders. Her dad taught her to surf when she was six and she fell in love with the sport while surfing in Kauai at the Hanalei Pier. Georgia has been surfing competitively since she was nine and competes in ESA and NSSA as well as any other contests she can make it to. Each year, she travels over 15,000 miles to pursue her dream. Her story is a unique one in that sheʼs a kid from Tennessee who is making waves in the surfing world. Itʼs Georgiaʼs passion for surfing and her encouragement to others to not be limited by their circumstances or their age that make her stand out.
Surfing has never really been the focus, itʼs rather been a way to show love to other people. One of Georgiaʼs earliest opportunities to show love and give to others through her surfing was before Christmas in 2010. After having dinner and discussion with a friend from Kenya about the plight of kids who live in the Kibera slum, Georgia was compelled to give some of the money she had earned from her surfing scholarships to purchase shoes for kids in need. Since that time, Georgia and her surf sponsor Beautiful Feet have given more than 1,300 pair of sandals to impoverished kids around the world – Brazil, Moldova, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa – through a start-up humanitarian organization Georgiaʼs family has started called Every Girl Counts. The first major project of Every Girl Counts is building a secondary school that will educate up to 140 kids each year that otherwise wouldnʼt have the opportunity for an education – some of the very kids Georgia has given shoes to. Georgia plans to travel to Kenya in the future with her mom to speak to the school girls to love and encourage them.
In the summer of 2011, Lifeway Christian Resources, the largest distributor of Christian materials, approached Georgia to be a feature kid in the Lifeway CentriKid Camps video. Because of this awesome opportunity, Georgia was able to share her passion for surfing with more than 30,000 kids that attended this camp in the summer of 2012 as well as speak live to more than 3,000 kids at two of the camps. She not only shared her passion, but challenged the kids to find their passion and encouraged them to do so no matter what challenges they may face. Since these first speaking opportunities, Georgia has also spoken to over 5000 people in youth groups and school groups to challenge and encourage them through her passion for God and surfing. Also in the summer of 2011, our family began what has become known as Surf Church. We began meeting on the beach each Sunday morning in the summer of 2011 for a time of fellowship and bible study together. Georgia begins our time together with playing guitar while we sing a couple of songs and then John leads the Bible study. Simply having a church “service” on the beach once a week isnʼt the goal—itʼs to love people well and show them the love of God each and every day during the short time we have each summer on Tybee.
Everything is coming full circle as we see the tangible fruits of our labor through relationships that weʼve invested in. When Georgia was in New Smyrna Beach for NSSA East Coast Championships, Patrick “Tupat” Eichstaedt introduced her to Shea Lopez, and Georgia had some time to surf with him. A couple months later she was back in Ponce Inlet and her sister Sadie signed up for Sheaʼs surf camp and Georgia was able to spend the week working on specific surfing techniques.
Surfing has been the great common denominator in many of our relationships and opportunities. Weʼve traveled thousands of miles, met some really amazing people, seen some really amazing things….but it all comes back to love. How can we take this or that experience and be able to love others well? In the end, Love wins every time.