Surf It Back by Gilad Lewandowski

Gilad LewandovskiFeatured, Surf

Every day we make choices and hope to improve our lives, sometimes we think hard and sometimes we naturally see a path. From time to time we have the opportunity to help others take their next steps in life and that feeling can be so uplifting, it can feel better than helping ourselves. 

We frequently give back to our family, friends, and neighbors. Occasionally an opportunity pops up to give to a different community that gives such immense joy and fulfillment to both the giver and the recipient. This is exactly how I felt when I volunteered at a Play LA Adaptive Surf event at Venice Beach last fall.

Early morning I took my son Liad, who is also in an instructor at Freedom Surf Camps, to the event at Venice Beach. The Adaptive instructors spoke a few words and welcomed the kids and their family support crews, some were on the autism spectrum and some were in wheelchairs.

When working with newcomers I found it’s better to stop my brain from thinking about how all of this happened to the kids – and the right thing to do is let the water touch the kids and the crew volunteers. There is something magical in the water that connects you to the bigger elements, reasons and purpose of life,  and suddenly we all have big smiles on our faces!

The rest of the story stayed in the water. The event, the instructors, the volunteers, and most importantly the kids were all fulfilled with contributing a positive impact to something larger than ourselves.

The next day, I asked myself… “What can I do to have more elevating experiences like this?” The answer was easy – do it again! I registered for an Adaptive Surf Instructor course certification and also convinced a few instructors to do it with me too, and … BOOM – we are going to have an Adaptive Surf Program at Freedom! This will amplify the Freedom crew leadership, community outreach, and above all – the feeling of happiness and fulfillment by GIVING BACK.