The Surf Club at USF recently hit the waves to share their passion for the sport at the annual Hang 10 for Autism event in Sarasota. Each year the club participates in the event, which gives special needs children and their families the opportunity to learn how to surf while enjoying the beautiful Florida beaches.
Surf Club officers Tom Lichtenberger and David Pereira love teaching the kids how to enjoy the ocean in a safe and fun way. “We try our best just to have a good time [by] helping the kids find seashells to bring home and catching fish in their little play buckets,” Lichtenberger said.
The kids weren’t the only ones who took something away from the day of surf and sun; the team also gained valuable experiences. “Our club members gained a high respect for families dealing with this disability as it affects the entire family, as well as the child,” Pereira said. “It is profound for the Surf Club to give back to our community, as we have so many hands that are willing to help. Our passion for surfing makes it easy to promote happiness in these children diagnosed with Autism.”
The Surf Club competes locally in National Scholastic Surf Association competitions. “Anybody is welcome to join us for the competition,” Lichtenberger said. He encourages USF students to come out to “both surf and cheer on our teammates.” The club is always looking for new members, whether they are trained surfers or novices interested in learning a new skill. The club will be hosting a surf school on November 8th, where club members teach students how to surf or to improve their technique. To learn more about the club or to join, check out the club’s BullSync page: https://orgsync.com/87503/chapter.
By Amanda Carnevale, Sport Club Supervisor