Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Surfer's Healing at Honoli'i Beach Park Hilo,HI

This was another Surfer's Healing event Bulky Boy was a part of with the help of our Team Riders and friends Solomon Ortiz, Kalani Kahalioumi, Garrett McNamara, & Uncle Skibbs

Autistic kids hit waves at Honoli'i Beach Park, Hilo, HI
Article from Hawaii Tribune-Herald by Jason Armstrong Staff Writer

A group of professional watermen helped give Terry Harvey and his family an experience Sunday unlike any the Alaskan family has shared during its past five Big Island Christmas holidays.

"This was really special. We'll be talking about it for a long time," Harvey said after his twin 15-year-old sons, Ryan and Nolan, went surfing for the first time.

While many visiting teens can claim braving Hawaii's winter waves, the Harvey boys rode the surf despite the challenges of autism. They were among 35 disabled children from Hawaii, Texas, Alaska and Canada who participated in the inaugural Honolii Beach Park Surf Gathering and Surf Camp sponsored by the Hawaii Chapter of Surfers Healing.

The national organization, which introduces the healing powers of surfing to autistic kids, provided the boards and safety vests.

"We were not sure how it was going to be, but when we got there, everyone was having a good time. There were kids of all sizes out there on the water," said Terry Harvey, a self-described retired surfer.

"Especially for me, it's great to see them out there," he added of his own boys. "It's not something we would be able to do on our own."Former world champion surfer Israel "Izzy" Paskowitz founded Surfers Healing 12 years ago in California to honor his autistic son, Isaiah, now 18, and to expose more disabled children to the wonders of the waves.

"It's a way to connect and give back," he said after the free event. "These kids are special."

Paskowitz, a member of the acknowledged "first family of surfing," said his son and other kids with autism "thrive" in the water, which serves as a therapeutic environment.

"When a surfer catches a wave, there's a special feeling we get. That's why we keep surfing," said organizer Kalani Kahalioumi, a Hilo native and former professional surfer who became rookie of the year at age 18. "And all these kids get to experience that special feeling.

"The children ranged in age from 3 to 15, he said.

"The kids had the time of their life," Kahalioumi said. "It was perfect (surf conditions), couldn't ask for better."

About 200 people attended the event, he said, noting the children were recruited by contacting social service providers that assist disabled kids.

Harvey said he learned about it by reading a flyer at a local surf shop.

"We recognized it was going to be a real special opportunity," he said.

Helping keep the kids safe was Garrett McNamara, a pioneering surfer from Oahu who holds the record for winning the largest cash prize, $70,000, for a big-wave event.

"I almost ended up crying," McNamara, who is known for being fearless, said of seeing a father share a loving moment with his autistic son.

He said the parents' hopes are dreams are affected when their son or daughter is diagnosed with autism.

"Nothing seems achievable, and the next thing they're out there surfing," he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment