Surf 4 HUGS

Gary Kewley
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Friday - August 19, 2005
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Aloha, surfers and beachgoers!

As we begin our goodbyes to the summer of 2005, we can say good start, bad finish. Oh well, we really did have a great start. Plus, it’s still paradise. I’m actually in San Diego as I write on a Monday in the middle of August. I went down to see the sunset at about 7:30 last Sunday night and although it was beautiful, the air was 60 degrees and the water a murky 66 degrees — with lousy surf to boot — 50 frothing groms attacking the mush like they were in the Pipeline Masters … There was seaweed galore right on shore, and guess what? It stunk! So I just focused on the sunset … and thought of my home in the Islands … paradise, no matter how big the surf is.

Speaking of gratitude, have I got a story for you. A story of 14 families who showed up at Kuhio Beach in July for a day of sunshine and surfing! The kids experienced firsthand (and -foot) the joy of riding a wave. Every single child stood up on this beautiful day and got the rush of a lifetime. One kid even rode tandem on one of the beach boys’ shoulders — high in the sky! Wide-eyed and stoked beyond measure, these kids rode all day long. What was supposed to be a four-hour joy ride ended up going and going and going like the Energizer bunny. One ripper named E.J. was in the water for six hours straight!

What made this day extra special were the kids and those who made it possible. You see, each one of these young people are part of HUGS. (Help, Understanding and Group Support). HUGS has an extended family of more than 700 — including parents and children. Of these, there are about 120 kids who have life-threatening illnesses. Each one of them is a trooper to the max, living life to the fullest. HUGS is there to help, and on this day, so was the surf and sunshine. HUGS sends its huge mahalo and love to the Thomas ohana, who organized a wonderful event, and to the beach boys and surfing community who came through with a tsunami of success! You could just see it in the children’s eyes and smiles. They beamed.

The Surf 4 HUGS event on Kuhio Beach in July
was a big splash with the kids, as
illustrated in this drawing by Ryan Post

The best summary of the second annual “Surf 4 HUGS” was the drawing by Ryan. Look how the surfer is floating above the surf … His spirit soaring … from the simple joy of surfing! He and all the kids help bring us down to earth with hearts of thanks.

I’ll see you next year for the third annual “Surf 4 HUGS” … and back here next weekend! GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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