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Friday, October 24, 2014
Surf for All to host fundraiser
Non-profit raising money for ‘WaveJet’ surfboard to help disabled surfers
By Alexandra Spychalsky
Courtesy Matt Clark
Surf for All instructor Cliff Skudin helped a kid catch a wave during a surf outing for blind and visually impaired children in 2012.

Surf for All, a local nonprofit organization that provides surfing opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs, will be hosting a fundraiser on Tuesday, June 10, to raise money for a new type of surfboard that will help disabled surfers navigate the waves more freely.

The event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Park Sports Bar & Grill, at 20 W. Park Ave. There will be an open bar and appetizers, as well as raffles and live music, courtesy of local bands Groundswell and On the Flipside. The cost is $50 per person.

Founded in 2010, Surf for All hosts free surf camps for people with disabilities and special needs. Co-founder Cliff Skudin said that they have hosted outings for people with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and the blind and visually impaired, as well as inner city and disadvantaged youth and injured service members.

The new board that the organization hopes to purchase is called the WaveJet. Usually, Surf for All has many volunteers in the water, helping the students get past the break and out into the water. This board has a built-in propulsion system that, for those who have difficulty paddling out on their own, will enable them to get out in the water and catch waves without needing as much assistance.

“We’ve traveled and seen what other beach communities on the West coast and Hawaii have done with this type of equipment,” Skudin said. “We’re really excited to bring something like this to our hometown.”

Long Beach Waterfront Warriors Co-chair Jerry Snell said that the surfboard will help the service members who come to Long Beach for the annual Waterfront Warriors outing. Many of the marines and soldiers go surfing with Surf for All during the visit.

“It gives them independence in the water,” Snell said. “The soldiers really love the idea of being able to get out into to water by themselves. They’re not just sitting on a beach chair watching their family.”

Snell said that last summer, a soldier that was seriously injured in April was able to get into the water and surf when he came up in July. He said that the man’s wife said it was the best thing that had happened to him in his recovery. And for many of the service members returning with prosthetics, which can be difficult to maneuver on a surfboard, this new board will give them new control in their surfing.

“This will allow them to get the board out and catch waves unassisted,” Skudin said. “It’s really freedom.”

For more information about Surf for All, visit www.surfforall.org

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