Surfers Healing Waikiki helps autistic people through joy of surfing

Surfers Healing is a non-profit that wants to help people with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. It began on the mainland and found its way to Hawaii four years ago. Executive Director Surfers Healing Waikiki Zane Aikau remembers the first time the group did something informal in the Islands. “We did in 2008 at Waikiki and had a few participants, but after traveling with Surfers Healing all over, I felt we needed to bring it back to Hawaii and make it an annual event.”

 

The group operates in Waikiki and the Island of Hawaii, where it alternates sides of the island each year between Hilo and Kona. In 2015, the events are in Hilo.

 

Aikau decided to open the Hawaii group to anyone with intellectual disabilities this year, “so more people can enjoy the experience.”

 

Also, it’s not only about surfing. “It is an opportunity for the families to get together at the beach. We have canoe rides for the families and participants, and live entertainment emceed by Al Waterson that includes local performers like Jake Shimabukuro, Jon Yamasato, Taz Vegas, and more,” elaborates Dennis Maher, a Surfers Healing Waikiki board member as well as the father of a son with autism.

 

Its next event is in Waikiki is at Kuhio Beach right by the Duke Kahanamoku Statue on November 28th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On December 5th, it has an event in Hilo at Richardson Park.

 

Go to surfershealing.org to register. Please direct all inquiries about registration to Zane Aikau at (808) 391-7638 or paikau@yahoo.com

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