HILO, Hawaii – It was a great day to be on the water in Hilo on Saturday, and that’s just what these island keiki were able to do during the free Surfers Healing Camp at Richardson Ocean Park.
Knowledgeable surfing instructors guided children with autism and other disabilities out to the break for an unforgettable ride. Now in its fourth year, the Surfers Healing Camp provides these children and their families with the unique experience of surfing with professionals under supervised conditions.
We spoke to instructor Kalani Kahalioumi as he exited the water.
Last year, the same event was held at Honolii Beach Park, but Kalani said the change in venue might better suit the event.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation helped put the event together, and said in a media release that the Surfers Healing organization started 15 years ago in California to share the joy of surfing with the less fortunate. Assisting the Hawai‘i Island chapter of the organization was HMSA, Hulakai Surfboards, and Hawai‘i Behavioral Health.
Its a lot of work to put an event like this together – free of charge – for an estimated 200 people, including approximately 50 keiki. But its all worth it for the look on an excited child’s face when catching a wave out on the water.
Surfers Healing Camps are held throughout the world, providing more than 3,000 children annually with the opportunity to try surfing.