By Michael Ray
StokeShare and Surfrider (West Los Angeles/Malibu Chapter) introduced surfing Saturday, June 17, to inner city at-risk kids enrolled in the LAPD Youth Cadet program. Volunteers gathered near Life Guard Tower 20 at Santa Monica Beach with surfboards so that the cadets could learn the principles of surfing.
Before hitting the water, the cadets were given a group surf lesson on paddling out, standing on the board, riding a wave and falling. The cadets were then paired off and given one on one instruction with surf mentors from StokeShare and Surfrider.
Whereas Stokeshare is a peer to peer marketplace for adventure sports, providing outdoor enthusiasts with the capacity to rent outdoor equipment as part of a growing community; Surfrider (West Los Angeles/Malibu chapter) is a grassroots environmental nonprofit that is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans waves, and beaches. During International Surfing Day, both Stokeshare and Surfrider received additional support on the shore and the waves from Wavehuggers, an “ocean conscious surf school” based in Southern California.
As surf mentors and LAPD Cadets walked to the shore and paddled the surfboards out, there was a fair share of trial and errors from the newbie surfers. However, as instruction continued, confidence grew and eventually the cadets were riding waves back to shore.
First week Cadet Christopher Bueso, said he felt “pretty good” about riding his first wave in but was nervous; whereas Madison Perez, a cadet with nearly two years on the waves, and her instructor Diana, with nearly a decade on a surfboard, were much more relaxed on the water.
In regards to the LAPD Youth Cadets participation in International Surfing Day, CJ Tod of Stokeshare had this to say “It is important to have experiential learning…we want to teach [the cadets] how to get out and surf but also that everything they do in the city has an impact downstream.”
The parting words for the day, a unified cheer from mentors, LAPD Youth Cadets, and volunteers, “We are one watershed.” For more information check out: lapdcadets.com.