This Saturday, November 19th surfers from all over southern California will don Santa suits while they hang ten at Salt Creek Beach in the annual Surfing Santa Competition. The charity surfing contest is hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and benefits local nonprofit Surfers Healing, whose mission is “to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing.”
Surfing Santa is an annual one-day surf contest where competitors hit the waves dressed as Santa or any other holiday-inspired characters. Children of all ages and adults are welcome to compete to win some awesome prizes given to the top six surfers in five different divisions. Prizes include Maui Jim sunglasses, Carver skateboards, Surfline memberships, and many other items donated by local surf and active wear retailers. Additionally, the participant who wins the award for Best Costume will receive $500, and the winner of Biggest Air over the course of the day will receive a Brawner Board and $1,000!
The concept for the competition was developed in 2009 by Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s General Manager Bruce Brainerd to honor the resort’s commitment to supporting worthy causes. The five-star resort will also host an annual Surfboard Auction that kicks off the same day, and closes at noon on December 31, 2016. The collection of donated surfboards will be auctioned online, and over the years has highlighted boards from well-known artists and musicians, as well as personal boards donated from local surf legends. The Ritz-Carlton has proudly raised more than $210,000 for Surfers Healing since the inception of the Surfing Santa contest and Surfboard Auction.
Surfers Healing is a foundation that hosts surf camps to share the therapeutic effects of surfing with autistic children and their families. Founders Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz have a personal dedication to the cause because when their autistic son Isaiah struggled with sensory overload meltdowns, surfing with his dad always calmed him down. After seeing the initial success surfing had on Isaiah, the Paskowitz family invited others to join them. Their idea caught on, and Surfers Healing has now become a grassroots non-profit organization that proudly hosts nationwide free surf camps and events for autistic children.
We hope to see you this Saturday at Salt Creek Beach to help support the families and surfers that come together each year to make a difference, one ride at a time.