Teaching kids to surf is tricky, but that’s exactly what Surfers Healing does at their camps for kids with autism. Helping them stand up on the board while keeping it stable isn’t easy, and full-sized tandem boards are just too heavy and clunky to maneuver with a small child who’s not confident on a surfboard just yet.
To help the volunteer instructors, we worked with Hobie to create four modified tandem boards sized just right for an adult and a kid. Bigger than a standard board but far smaller than a full-on tandem, they widened the board to give it a little extra stability and used state-of-the-art surfboard tech to keep the weight down. This allows instructors to carry the board and a child in or out of the water, as well as control it in the waves. The result is a board that’s much easier to catch waves and stand up on, because it’s all about that the feeling the kids get when they learn to ride a wave with Surfers Healing.
That was a major focus of the design process, as Hobie’s Bucky Barry (who’s also a Surfers Healing instructor) tells us:
“The design allows us … to be able to do turns and other maneuvers with the children. We like to rip and show off a bit. This also allows the child to have a ride as if they have been surfing much longer, get the feel of performing on a wave, not just riding them.”
And man do these kids feel it. Sweet bonus: the boards are decorated with art from our popcorn bags. We didn’t know the designs would one day become surfboards, but it definitely looks like we did. The kids in the Surfers Healing camps this summer are in for one ripping ride.
If you would like to support Surfers Healing, you can use code SURFER when you order popcorn, and 50% of your purchase will go toward helping them continue to provide these incredible camps free to kids with autism.