MOF Santa Cruz Had Inspiring Guests and...
MOF Santa Cruz Had Inspiring Guests and Rich Surfing History
On May 7, 2011 Mauli Ola Foundation’s third annual Santa Cruz Surf Experience Day was ushered in with the perfect weather and surf. Waves that broke at just the right time provided ideal conditions for Cystic Fibrosis patients to test out their surfing skills at Cowells Beach. Known as a learning beach, “Cowells really lived up to its reputation on the morning of our surfing event,” stated Bobby Serna, MOF Surf Experience Director.
Richard Schmidt Surf School sponsored the event for the third consecutive year, and Schmidt assisted Mauli Ola in choosing the right time of day to catch the best waves. “When I called Richard he told me the best time of day to have our event would be early morning, so we started at 9 AM on his recommendation,” explains Serna. Serna continued, “sure enough we had perfect 1 to 2 foot waves for a few hours during our event.” Bobby Serna also pointed out that even the weather in Santa Cruz, California seems to be on their side. “Every year Santa Cruz has been rainy in May, but every time we’re there for our Surf Experience Day events, the sun seems to pop out for us.”
A record breaking 33 CF patients attended this year’s MOF Santa Cruz Surf Experience Day, making it Mauli Ola Foundation’s biggest event turnout in the history of their MOF Surf Experience Days! Bobby Serna attributes the large turnout at this year’s Santa Cruz event to word-of-mouth through a growing social media following for Mauli Ola Foundation, as well as the rich surfing history in Santa Cruz, California. “Nor-cal is a little slower than Southern California with small tight knit communities, and we’ve had a lot of word of mouth up there. And with our YouTube Channel and other online platforms, our social media following has grown exponentially,” states Serna.
A little known fact about Santa Cruz, California; “People call Huntington Beach ‘surf city’ but what many people don’t know is that Santa Cruz was actually the original ‘surf city’ with a long history that dates back to the 1800s when Hawaiians brought surfing to Northern California,” explains Serna.
Further adding to the uniqueness of the Santa Cruz event was a special appearance by one of the Stenzel Twins, Anabel Stenzel. Famous within the Cystic Fibrosis community, Stenzel is a lung transplant recipient and a renowned genetic counselor from Stanford University. The Stenzels are also the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary (The Power of Two). Anabel and Isabel Stenzel are twin sisters who were both diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as newborns and have thrived educationally and professionally despite living with CF. Both twins received lung transplants in their twenties and these remarkable women have gone on to excel in their respective careers as well as running a half marathon, mountain climbing and embarking on extensive travel. “Having Anabel Stenzel speak at our event was amazing. It is one thing for someone to achieve greatness if they are healthy, but to hold such a prestigious position at Stanford, and to know that Anabel got there while battling CF, is a true inspiration!” exclaims Serna.
Besides professional big wave surfer Richard Schmidt, some other amazingly talented pros came out to support Mauli Ola’s Santa Cruz event. Big wave surfer Ken “Skindog” Collins, Anthony Tashnick, Shawn “Barney” Barron, Kalani Robb, Gavin Beschen and local Santa Cruz surfing legend Josh Loya were all in attendance.
Many of the registrants at MOF Santa Cruz were from Stanford University’s Adult Cystic Fibrosis clinic and at least seven of them were lung transplant patients. “This is the most transplant patients we have ever had at an event,’ expressed Serna, adding “it’s like a second chance for them to live longer. To see three CF patients all hanging out together and laughing and making physical contact was trippy, because usually CF patients can’t touch. To see 3 CF patients hanging out together and hugging was rad to see!”
From the success of 2011’s MOF Santa Cruz Surf Experience Day event, it seems that 2012 will be even bigger. “We noticed after the Santa Cruz event we gained about 150 Facebook friends!” exclaims Serna. “We made a lot of great connections up there.”
For information about future MOF Surf Experience Day events please visit http://mauliola.org/events.html.