Surfing for the Cause
Monday, July 12, 2010
Picture the quintessential surfing moment: a quilt of blue, a stretch of horizon, a curling wave approaching, the surfer poised on his board, alone. This Endless Summer image shows a solitary venture, an individual pursuit to seek out the mythic, perfect wave.
“Surfing is what brought us to these communities,” says Mike Chambers, Surf for the Cause’s director, “and surfing made us aware of the extreme poverty and conditions there. There might have been good waves, but before we never really did anything for the community and we would leave feeling empty, like we had exploited these areas.”
Making new waves
To combat this sense of remorse, the founder of Surf for the Cause, Will Kinnane, set off for Nicaragua in 2004. He teamed up with a New York based foundation, Hope for the Children, to build houses with community members in a small village. Since this first trip, Will and the other surfers were hooked. “Everyone said they just didn’t want to travel any other way,” Chambers says.
Surf for the Cause has organized trips to Nicaragua and Peru continuously since 2004. Since 2006, when an award-winning documentary titled The Human Experience captured Surf for the Cause’s work with an orphanage in Peru, the group has received national and international attention. People captivated by their story and their personality, have wanted to be a part of it; they volunteer, join, and donate.
“We have seen the kids grow, the families grow,” says Mike, “and seen this community really rise up because of Surf for the Cause.” In Sutiava, Surf for the Cause concentrates on building needed infrastructure as well as bringing joy to the community. Each trip, the surfers take the village children to the try surfing for themselves; though Sutiava is less than an hour from the beach, most of the kids have never seen the ocean.
Their success in Nicaragua and Peru continues to motivate them, and has inspired a new dream: a surf-mentor program with at-risk youth, based domestically.
“After spending six hours building a house, if I’m sitting on the water right before sunset, I’m thinking about the smiles on the kids faces, and how helping out means the world to these people,” says Mike, “Maybe the waves aren’t that good, but there is a feeling of satisfaction like none other.” So the image of the wild surfer relentlessly seeking the perfect wave might still exist, but you’ll never know if he’s on his board, considering a day of hard work.
Learn more about Surf for the Cause on their Web site.
Surf for the Cause is hosting a fundraiser in Little Compton, August 7th. For more information, go here.
- Brewing Up a Storm in Newport
- Comic-Classic Greeting Cards Straight from the Providence Derby League
- Urban Scene: Sketchy Nights
- Drinking Liberally at Blue State Coffee