Mauli Ola Creates Memorable Surf Day for...
Mauli Ola Creates Memorable Surf Day for Military Families on La Jolla Beach
The beach at La Jolla Shores in San Diego is a pristine strip of shoreline amidst beautiful coastal estate homes. Mauli Ola Foundation was privileged to hold their first La Jolla cystic fibrosis surf experience day on La Jolla Shores at La Shores Park on October 8, 2011. With a backdrop of ideal sunny weather and good sized surf, 14 young Cystic Fibrosis patients and their families enjoyed top notch surfing instruction from two local surf schools. “There was some nice swell in the water down at La Jolla Shores beach,” states MOF Surf Experience Director, Bobby Serna.
La Jolla Shores is a private community that required permission from the local Home Owners Association, as well as the city, to hold an event on their beach. “There’s a lot of private homes right there, but the HOA and the community were very supportive of our cause, and they granted us the use of their beach.”
The La Jolla Shores Mauli Ola surfing event was added to this year’s MOF national tour schedule by direct request from Dr. Henry Wojtczak, pediatric pulmonologist and Cystic Fibrosis specialist at Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA. Dr. Wojtczak attended Mauli Ola’s La Jolla event along with medical staff from Kaiser Permanente Hospital. Both hospitals were partnered with Mauli Ola Foundation for this surf experience day event. “Partnerships with pediatric hospitals are becoming a regular occurrence for our surf experience days, and these hospitals are helping to spread the word to CF families about the medical benefits of getting their kids in the ocean to surf,” explains Bobby Serna.
Due to the support and partnership of Naval Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente, there were a lot of new CF patients at the surfing event at La Jolla Shores beach. “San Diego is such a large geography,” explains Serna. “We saw patients that we never saw before at our other San Diego events. It’s the same city, but there were a lot of new faces down there which was really cool.”
Serna went on to point out the important role these hospitals play in getting the word out about Mauli Ola’s surf experience day events. Naval Medical Center, of course, drew a large crowd of military families who are living with CF, which created a tight- knit extended military family atmosphere down at the event. “Lots of relatives, friends, and fellow military families came down to the event to support these kids and to cheer them on,” says Serna. “These folks are already a tight unit, so to have them down at a social event for the kids was an added bonus to the camaraderie that they already share.”
Though there were a handful of repeat CF families down at La Jolla, many of the families were new to the whole Mauli Ola surfing experience. Having so many first-timers at La Jolla provided Surf Experience Director, Bobby Serna, with a whole new group of people to teach about the healing benefits of surfing and natural saline treatment. “I was announcing Mauli Ola’s message to a fresh new set of ears!” exclaims Serna. “It was like being in a time warp from three years ago, having to impart the message of natural saline therapy for the very first time.” Serna is passionate about Mauli Ola Foundation’s continual partnering with hospitals, explaining that these ongoing hospital partnerships are crucial in “leading families to understand that it is a medical treatment we are providing.”
The 14 CF patients down at La Jolla Shores ranged in age from 5 years old to young adults. “One little 5 year old girl who never surfed before was standing on her first couple of waves and she couldn’t get enough,” says Serna. “A lot of these families and the kids caught the surfing bug. They want to keep surfing and going to the beach, which will significantly help improve their health.”
Two celebrity surfers, Kalani Robb and Torrey Meister, were down at La Jolla Shores providing encouragement and signing autographs for an excited crowd of fans. Ocean Girl Surf School and Menehune Surf School provided surf instruction as well as providing wet suits, surf boards and paying for beach permits for Mauli Ola Foundation.
Sponsors for the event included: Flexfit, ScreenCandy, GoPro, Da Hui, Hawaiian Natural Artesian Water, Skullcandy, Etnies and ECOlogical Skincare.
For MOF Surf Experience Director, Bobby Serna, watching these kids build self-esteem through surfing is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. “Most of these kids, no matter how athletic they are, they’ll eventually have a CF episode where they lack stamina and become out of breath.” Though feeling different while participating in athletic activities can take a toll on their self-esteem, Mauli Ola provides a safe and encouraging environment where these kids can just be kids and feel like they are succeeding out there on the waves.
“Anything to put a smile on their faces and to help these kids live a longer and happier life,” concludes Serna.
For information about Mauli Ola’s remaining 2011 tour dates and 2012 events, visit www.mauliola.org