Kids Just Want to have Fun.
~ Ryan Conder
You are a long time surfer and a parent of two boys. You have also taught special needs kids to surf. How did you get involved with teaching special needs kids?
I saw a video from Surfers Healing and after working with kids with special needs in high school and enjoying it so much, I reached out to them.
Can you describe a memorable experience helping a child ride a surf board for the very first time?
It is the experience of a child letting the fear slip away and watching him/her completely loosen up and have fun after having a death grip on my head! Thats always the best feeling...when the child enjoys it and sort of lets go because he/she is confident in the water.
What advice do you have for parents who would like to expose their kids to surfing?
Don't be afraid. It's really pretty safe with an experienced helper.
What is a good age to start?
I would say 3 years with a good person helping them out. But on their own...they will tell you when they are ready. Don't push it. Let them just enjoy the beach. They will let you know when they are ready. I think playing at the beach is the most important part. All this stand up surfing stuff is a little overrated. Just having fun and feeling comfortable in the water is the most important thing.
Can you share some tips about surfing and safety in the water?
Take your child out and just let them go at their own pace in the water. Most kids won't take unnecessary risks but it's nice to be there to help if they do. Get your child a wetsuit so they are warm and comfortable.
Getting a child to enjoy being in the water is the most important part. The more comfortable they are, the more confident and safe they become in the ocean.
I think pushing the surfing thing is a bit of our own ego as surfers. The kids enjoy playing in the ocean or bodysurfing just as much. If they want to surf they will let you know.