Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Local NC Surfers Give Back

Think most Wrightsville Beach surfers are like Sean Penn's character Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? For the most part, that stereotype could not be further from the truth. In fact, a number of area surfers have been recognized for their groundbreaking charity work and community outreach. Some of their efforts have taken them as far away as the beaches of India…and Norway.

In the words of IndoJax Surf School owner, Jack Viorel, "We are nothing unless we give back." Since moving to Wilmington from northern California several years ago, he has inspired the local surf community with this philosophy. Along with numerous free camps he conducts through his surf school, he has also worked extensively with a girl's orphanage in India. Making the sport accessible to a variety of individuals, from those with physical and mental challenges to military personnel and their families to inner-city youth is something Viorel feels strongly about. Last year, as a mission project to spread the news of how surfing can inspire and change lives, he and his team traveled to all four oceans, where they offered charity surf camps to special needs children.

WB Surf Camp holds Aloha Charity Surf Camps  in Wrightsville Beach each year.  In the past, they have offered an Alopecia and Cancer Survivor learn to surf camp as well as free camps for mothers and for teachers.  According to WB Surf Camp owner, Rick Civelli, "The purpose of our Aloha Camps is to share the restorative Hawaiian art of surfing with those who have a positive impact on the community or groups that we feel can benefit from the therapeutic healing powers of the ocean." 

Ocean Cure is a local nonprofit organization, which also uses surfing as a vehicle to change lives. The founders of Ocean Cure "believe very strongly in the powerful emotional and physical healing properties of the ocean and surfing." Along with holding free surf camps and clinics for medically fragile and at risk youth and adults, Ocean Cure is the main local coordinator for the "Life Rolls On-They Will Surf Again" event. California surfer, Jesse Billauer, founded Life Rolls On after a spinal cord injury resulted in his paralysis. "They Will Surf Again" is for those who've undergone spinal cord injuries. It takes place in several locations around the country. The enthusiasm of surfers along the Cape Fear Coast, have made this venue one of the most well attended. In 2011, Kevin Murphy, the president of Ocean Cure, accepted local TV channel WWAY's award that recognized Ocean Cure as the Cape Fear area's "Best Charity."

Surfer's Healing is an organization aimed at sharing the power of surfing with Autistic youth and adults. It was founded by Izzy Paskowitz, of the famous first family of surfing, who realized the positive influence surfing had on his autistic son. Local surfer, John Pike, heads up the annual event that typically takes place in August at Wrightsville Beach. Participants come from up and down the coast to participate in a day of surfing that celebrates the magic of the ocean.

In the words of the poet e.e. cummings:

"for whatever we lose~like a you or a me…
It's always ourselves that we find in the sea."

To learn more about the work of these worthwhile organizations, find out how to volunteer, and find out about their upcoming events, please visit http://www.ncpressrelease.com/small-surf-town-reaches-out-to-special-needs-kids-and-adults/.

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