Sunday, August 31, 2014

Passions Come Together

There are two things I absolutely enjoy, surfing and photography. When I have the opportunity to combine them with a great cause, it is amazing! This was the third year that I donated my photography services to the Surfers Healing Virginia Beach Camp. Surfers Healing, a non-profit organization, hosts surf camps in Hawaii, California, and along the east coast where autistic children can be exposed to the therapeutic experience of surfing. 

"Surfers Healing was founded by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Like many children with autism, he often suffered from sensory overload– simple sensations could overwhelm him. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite.

A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea–with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. Israel and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy, they began to host day camps at the beach where children with autism and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing." (source:

 Izzy Paskowitz taking one of the kids for an unforgettable ride in VA Beach this year

2014 marked the 10th year for the Virginia Beach camp and thanks to an amazing group of surfers and volunteers, more than 400 children were able to participate in the two-day event. The images I shot over the two days were edited and placed into galleries for the parents to download at no charge.


Surfing's six-time Triple Crown Champion Sunny Garcia was even on hand at the start of the first day to help spread smiles...

Surf conditions in Virginia Beach during August can be a hit or miss but the foundation's talented group of surfers make it happen. The surfers and the huge group of volunteers in the water and on the beach always make the child's safety their first priority.

 As you can tell from the images it was two days filled with fun and smiles; not only for kids but for all of us volunteers.

I talked to a number of parents on the beach and I kept saying, "I shoot a wide variety of events and I see more smiles, joy, and appreciation here than at anything else I shoot." I was beaming for those two days, and next couple of days that followed, because there is such a great feeling that surrounds the event.

If you have an autistic child and you're interested in signing up for 2015, check out the Surfers Healing website for future dates and if you're in or around Virginia check out the Virginia Beach Camp's website and Facebook Page for information. These camps wouldn't happen if it weren't for the amazing volunteers and they are always in need of volunteers and sponsors! Contact the Surfers Healing group nearest you to find out how you can be a part of the upcoming camps. 

I'm already looking forward to next year's Virginia Beach camp! I hope to see you out there in 2015.