AUTHOR: Trevor Wessman-Lavelle
When you're rooted in the beach lifestyle, a day in the sand can, sadly, be like any other. Sure, we stop every now and then to absorb the luxury and recognize the joy this planet's deepest, richest and most powerful force may bring to us but it becomes that much easier to take it for granted when you're "fitting" in a surf before work, promoting at an event or logging megabytes of photography at a photo shoot for the next catalog. Not unlike many things in life, right? When you get the chance to share that joy though--that wonder, thrill or peace the sea can bring to one's soul--with someone who otherwise might never have gotten the chance, "just another day at the beach" becomes an epic reward of the heart and strong reminder of the value of each minute we have in the ocean's embrace.
For 4 years Ocean Minded has been partnering with Miracles For Kids, an organization based in Orange County, California working to improve the lives of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Each summer, they organize paddle and surf camps here in Southern California, working with brands like Hobie, Billabong, Body Glove and Ocean Minded to treat groups of children from area children's hospitals to a fun day on the water and sand with organized beach activities and dozens of eager, smiling volunteers.
Most days start with a little bit of chaos as we greet the kids and get them sunscreened up, followed by a quick warmup session to get the blood pumping and limbs loose. Paddle camps offer the kids an opportunity to try out standup paddling, kayaking and outrigger canoeing with our friends from the Dana Outrigger Canoe Club. The kids even get the chance to race each other and the volunteers in a standup paddle relay! The surf camps offer professional surf instruction and plenty of time in the waves for the kids to hone their shred skills. Both camps have plenty to do off the water, too, from sand castle building, to crafts, to some fun, competitive events appropriately dubbed the "Coconut Olympics".
Before the end of the day, even though we're crusted over with sand and salt, and are worn out with our stomachs growling, we take a few minutes to be 'ocean minded' and learn a bit about the importance of a clean ocean and being stewards of our environment. Armed with buckets and grabbers, the kids and volunteers head out to clean their beaches and leave it in better condition than when they showed up.
The days end for the kids with the bus ride back to the hospital or their homes but it's obvious it'll take a lot longer for the smiles to leave their faces. And, for the volunteers and brands who support and participate in these events, as much effort and energy as we may put in to the days planning and executing for the kids, we find ourselves with painfully big smiles ourselves and the swollen hearts to match. We've shared that thing called stoke. Like tattoos, the moments shared with these kids become indellible marks in our memory banks and on our souls, reminding us to feel the warmth of the sand, the cool touch of the water or the ocean breeze against our salted skin when we're spending "just another day at the beach".
Professional surf instruction from Body Glove Surf Camp
First wave and already perfecting the "Shaka"!
Ocean Minded flow ambassador Shae Foudy showing how she takes care of her beaches.
What's more fun, finding the trash or gettin' after it with the pickers??
The after party at American Junkie in Hermosa Beach, CA.
Walking and Rocking the Daisies with Ocean Minded
International Surfing Day
International Surfing Day
Beach Clean Up- Jupiter Beach FL with Local Surf Shop Aug 19, 2007
Beach Clean Up- Spanish House FL with Surfrider and Catalyst Surf Shop Oct 20, 2007