Inspiring Sparks to start the morning

Gilad LewandovskiSurf

Inspiring Sparks to start the morning

Spring Break of 2022 was not looking like it was going to be our best. The week started with the last big rain of the winter so we had to delay camp by 3 days. We did not have a lot of kids, it was a high tide on a beach break, and the weather was not ideal.

Nick and I were super Stoked just put the Freedom Canopy on the sand and remember last summer’s surfing days. Regardless of the situation… seeing Manhattan Beach with a Freedom Canopy and a stack of boogie boards and surfboards is a picture that makes us pumped and ready to GO!

Our small group of campers arrived and Nick started the morning safety briefing and stretching. I went to talk to the lifeguard to assure him we are on the same page and to see if he had any safety instructions for us. 

After a quick warm-up run to the lifeguard tower and back we put on wetsuits, and sunscreen and we were ready to get wet. But I needed something more to inspire me… the waves were above the kids’ level, so I needed to find something to get me into my HAPPY Zone.

I went to Maya and said, “I know it’s looking bigger than you expected but, I think I want to take you into the line-up for the first time and get your first real wave. What do you think?” Maya looked at me and only said: “OK.” I saw she was intimidated, the high tide and swell looked bigger than her experience level.

I said to her, “let’s have a plan.”

“One, I will be with you all of the time”.
“Two, we will paddle together, I will be with my fins right next to you every second.”
“Three, we will paddle only between the sets.”
“Four, I will send you on a smaller size wave.”
“Five, if the wave looks big and you do not want to catch it – just LMK and we will look for another wave.”
“Six, Nick will help you to paddle back to the lineup once you finished your wave.”

So, we had the plan! We confirmed with Nick to take the other kids right in front of us on the beach. We were ready to go. Leash & surfboard ON, Gilad with his fins, and both waiting for the sets to calm.

Suddenly, I saw a photographer right near us. I introduced myself and asked him to take a photo of Maya on the wave if he could??? Rich, the photographer, was Stoked and said, “Sure!”

Maya was a great listener and paddled hard while I was kicking my fins behind her. Our timing was right and we got to the lineup with no problem on the way. Maya seemed a bit nervous, so I encouraged her while showing her that we are both together and I will not leave her.

A big set wave came and broke near us. Together we dived under and Maya was smiling since she felt it was easy to dive together. After that set wave, a nice wave was ready to break. I said to Maya, “I think that is your wave Maya – just listen to me and I will give you the instructions and when to POP UP.”

Maya looked at the Wave and said “OK!” It was a strong OK and I felt that she was ready. “Paddle Maya”, I shouted, “3,2,1 UPPPPPPPP!”

Maya rode the whole wave to the left. All the kids, Nick and Rich were cheering her from the beach… this was our inspiring moment. That was Maya’s first real wave from the lineup. 


As surfers, we all remember our first real wave and it’s usually a story to tell. Lucky Maya, Rich was there to get the incredible moment, which we are sharing with you. Thank you, Maya, Rich & Nick for teaming up for this magical moment.

*Thank you Emily Ann for editing and styling my English  *Thank you Rich for being there for us.