By Sarah Vaccaro | email@example.com
The 5th Annual First Coast Surf Clinic was held Saturday Sept. 22 at the Crescent Beach ramp. The Flagler alumni and local residents as well as Flagler College students and faculty offered great support in learning how to surf. The clinic is a donation only event to benefit the Hugh Shaw memorial scholarship at Flagler College.
The event kicked off at 8:30am with stretches and learning how to manage a surfboard. At 9:00-11:00 instruction in the water began. At 11:00, Ted McClemore, owner of South Beach Grill, also one of the instructors, sponsored lunch for everyone until the event ended at 12:30. Instructors included Beth Masters, (Hugh Shaw’s sister) Ron Schomburger, Rick Hodgens, Linda Beviliqua and Rick Slaven.
“I instructed a girl from Wisconsin. She looked around in the water, her eyes were big as saucers, and she was so stoked. That feeling got me fired up,” Schomburger said.
The instructors have been surfing for forty years or more. They hold fierce passion when it comes to riding giants. The satisfaction of riding a wave and being taking to another state of mind is exactly what every surfer achieved here today.
“The ocean is so wonderous! It’s just great to get out there and have fun,” said Surf Station Owner, Tory Strange.
“This[surfing] was a feeling I have never felt before,” said, Dana Whippy, junior at Flagler College. The clinic brought her her first day of surfing.
Whippy’s friend, Brenna Antram, who was alongside her in the water said, “This was such an awesome, accelerating, adrenaline rush to have surfed for the first time. It’s a feeling that you don’t get if you’re not in the water.”
Only a surfer knows the feeling. Let’s take Katie Henninger, 9-year-old student at R. B. Hunt Elementary.
“It’s a whole other fun world. I love surfing. It makes me feel happy,” Henninger said.
As Beth Masters watched her students stand up for the first time, she went nuts. She gave a thumbs up and yelled, “Great job!”
Families were also welcomed today. This gave an opportunity for parents to bond with their children.
“What a beautiful experience this was today. I’m so blessed to have been a part of it. It gave me a chance to feel what my son feels. Enthusiastic of life itself,” said one local mom.
Margo Brown, assistant director of this event said, “This was so nice to get out of the office on a Saturday and see so many smiling faces. No one leaves here feeling sad, everyone takes away something fun.”
The children at the surf clinic felt the appreciation of what surfing gives back to them. They let all of their worries go in the water. Surfing is a natural pursuit of finding one’s self and also enjoying a fun soulful session in God’s creation.
The atmosphere was peaceful. Everyone helped everyone. The seas rumbled with white wash and kids jetted out on the same wave for the first time. The sun shined bright and the water was clear with blue color swatches of kids splashing one another of pure excitement.
“I just wanted to keep going out, again and again,” Antram said.
“My favorite thing about being in the water is being allowed to do whatever you want on a surfboard,” Henninger said.
This memorial event has provided children as well as adults a feeling of a new romance.
“There was rain on one side, shine on the other and a double rainbow of inspiration,” said one of the event sponsors.
The Hugh Shaw surf contest will be held on alumni weekend at the Saint Augustine pier. This will be the 25th anniversary and proceeds benefit the Hugh Shaw memorial.
“We are so glad to help each year and it’s so good to see and hear the stories of the fun learning to surf brings,” said Strange.
“We are so thankful to everyone who gave volunteer hours to make this event possible,” said Brown.