By Brett Morey, chair of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship and past president of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA
The world could use some more positivity. And we’re going to give it to them with a fun-filled global Zoom event Thursday evening, 3 September featuring former World Champion of Surfing Shaun Tomson of Durban South Africa.
A third generation Californian surfer who grew up as a kid bodyboarding at Huntington Beach and Del Mar, I started the Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship in 2017, with approval from the Rotary International Board. The Fellowship is driving youth into the family of Rotary, creating opportunities for Rotarians to mentor young people, advancing our love of surfing, and uniting everyone around the globe under a banner of fun. Surfers Unite has members in Interact, Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotaract, as well as Rotary with more than 900 members in 30+ countries.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many events and activities, SURF is as active as ever promoting the values of Rotary, engaging youth and serving communities. On 3 September, Shaun Tomson will share a special two-hour presentation on The Code: The Power of “I Will.” This family-friendly event is open to all within Rotary International and friends in the surfing community around the globe. Register now.
For many years, Tomson has also been a tremendous supporter of the 100 Wave Challenge 100wave.org for Boys to Men Mentoring. The Boys to Men Mentoring Network is a local 501(c)3 non-profit based in San Diego reaching almost a 1,000 at risk teenage boys who are growing up without a positive male role model. The group provides mentorship, accountability and leadership training encouraging these teens to further their education, take responsibility and make better life choices.
Boys to Men has a MOU with over 40 middle schools and high schools in San Diego County and has adapted their weekly in-person circle group format to online Zoom events due to COVID-19. The relationships of trust formed by the men who volunteer and the teens who are involved are life changing and have a big impact. Boys to Men also run a camp and many learn to surf activities which will resume once it is safe to do so.
Besides the local San Diego connection reaching marginalized youth Boys to Men has over 30 chapters across the globe so I have found it a natural fit for Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship. The 100 Wave Challenge, now in it’s 11th year, traditionally has over 220 surfers at Mission Beach to catch 100 waves each. Last year the group raised over $420,000 for the charity.
This year the Boys to Men team has partnered with a number of leaders in the surf community including former World Surfing Champions Damien & CJ Hobgood and friends, heading up team Salty Crew. The format for this year has been adjusted due to the pandemic from a single day event to a two-month window (19 September to 22 November) so that teams can select their date, their break, and attempt catching 100 waves each in a single day.
Visit Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship to learn more about how we are supporting other non-profits, working with adaptive athletes and autistic children, assisting clean up events, and to find membership information and cool gear.