The famed Windansea Surf Club of La Jolla California is steeped in lore. From the antics of Butch Van Artsdalen and the legendary charter members like Phil Edwards, Skip Frye, and Miki Dora, the club has reached a near mythical reputation.
While the famous names have been plentiful over the decades, the group does more than win surf contests and produce excellent surfers. The Windansea Surf Club also hosts events that give back to their community, often involving the younger members of the club to show them there’s more to being a member than just surfing. On Saturday, August 12th, the 32nd Annual Day at the Beach benefitting children of homeless families residing in Father Joe’s Village/St Vincent De Paul Shelter took place at La Jolla Shores.
As the organizers of this event, the Windansea Surf Club works with supporting sponsors (Quiksilver, Sector 9, Xterra Surf, Water Ministries, Silvergate Bank, San Diego Jr. Lifeguards) to treat homeless children from the Father Joe’s Village to a day they will never forget. Buses are organized, email blasts are sent looking for volunteers and prizes are donated. The undertaking is extensive, to say the least.
“For some kids, it’s the best day of their life.”
– Scot Cherry Windansea Surf Club
But all the planning was well worth it as the bus pulled up that morning with 35 children peeking nervously through the windows. Over 100 volunteers lined the surfboard-covered grass, cheering for each child and dishing out high fives, hoots and smiles. While most of the kids have never surfed, it also seemed that most have never felt so special before either. It was a touching moment.
Kids were quickly paired up with adult and teen volunteers and made their way into the ocean to enjoy the kid-friendly waves. Event organizer Scot Cherry, who has been in the Windansea Surf Club since the mid 1980’s and has been running the event for decades said, “To see the smile on these kids faces is what it’s all about. These kids have had a pretty rough go at times and to be able to give them a chance to experience something that’s been so meaningful in our lives, it’s very special to give back.”
As the kids rode waves prone, on knees, backward and occasionally on their feet, the crowd of volunteers pushed them into waves, cheered them on with encouragement and made sure all the kids felt safe and supported as they experienced something the organizers hoped would change their lives and perspective.
Whether it was paddling out or just digging a hole with a small child, the kids from Father Joe’s Village were given attention and smiles at every turn. After the morning shift, everyone was treated to a burger lunch cooked up by Joe Roper and other volunteers and each child received their own trophy at the end of the day. “We all remember our first trophy,” say Cherry. “It’s a small gift that they can keep forever to look back on and remember their special day at the beach.”
To learn more about the Day At The Beach Non-Profit organization and how you can donate or volunteer for future events, please visit: windanseasurfclub.org