It was a day in the sun and surf for the hundreds of families gathered on the shores of Wrightsville Beach on Monday, Aug. 18, for the annual Surfers Healing autism surf day.
Young surfers like Mia Tomaselli and Alexia Hack spent the day riding waves with the crew of professional and experienced watermen with the Surfers Healing nonprofit organization.
“My favorite part was just surfing, I want to go again,” Tomaselli said. “It was just so cool and rad.”
The expressions on the faces of each child varied with each wave. Some stood quickly, lifting their arms in triumph while others needed a little help from their surf instructors and clung onto the board until the wave ended on the shore. However, nearly every time at the end of each wave both the instructors and their surfing buddies wore broad smiles.
Surfers Healing founder and former professional surfer Izzy Paskowitz was on hand, leading the team of surf instructors in the water with the easy, rolling waves that were perfect for beginners.
“We couldn’t have made waves any better than this for what we are doing out here,” Paskowitz said. “The beach is packed too because more and more this is becoming an event where not on do the moms and dads come along, but also grandmas and grandpas and extended families.”
Surfers Healing Wrightsville Beach volunteer and organizer John Pike said he recognized some old faces but loves it when new kids come out to participate.
“We have returns but we always want new people to come to be able to experience this event and benefit from it,” Pike said. “We have been lucky to have waves for this event for the past eight years and I thought our luck ran out this morning but then we said our prayer and this perfect little wave popped up for us today.”
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