The Surfers For Autism mission is to unlock the potential of people with developmental delays, support advocacy for autism issues and scientific research. Our focus is to eliminate stigma through public awareness and education and to unite communities through volunteerism.
It was December of 2007 when a simple idea was presented to a small group of South Florida surfers by a member whose life and family have been touched by autism. The concept of introducing children on the autism spectrum to surfing took hold and the group began planning for the inaugural Deerfield Beach event.
Fundraising efforts help us fulfill our mission of bringing these life-changing events to as many communities as possible and to help fund autism research, awareness and advocacy. Fundraising would be conducted by soliciting local businesses to donate product and services for a raffle and through the sale of event specific T-shirts.
On April 5, 2008, the inaugural Surfers For Autism event was held on the north side of the Deerfield Beach Pier where 40 surfers with autism hit the water and over $10,000 was raised to benefit autism associated charities. The organization has since hosted events in several locations on Florida’s East Coast, and single events have registered as many as 200 surfers and raised close to $20,000.
At a SFA event, our surfers are provided a safe environment where two to four highly skilled and trained surf instructors carefully guide them into waves. Our surfers and their families are treated like rock stars and enjoy a day filled with a range of activities including stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, live music, face-painting, games, bounce houses, fire engine tours and much more. A catered lunch is also provided, all at no cost. This is a very special day where children with ASD interact with typical peers and wow families with their capabilities. These events are examples of inclusion at the highest level.