Posted on 8/12/2017

Surfing for Autism Comes to Nags Head Beach

Learning how to stay on a surf board before the big event. Learning how to stay on a surf board before the big event.

Tomorrow morning is the big day for Surfing for Autism. Hundreds of kids affected by the full range of the autism spectrum take to the surf at Jennette's Pier.

This is the 8th time in a row that the local organization Surfing for Autism has put on the event, and it seems to get more popular every year.

Friday Evening

They've gotten better at it too. There was a dinner tonight, Friday, and an award ceremony where local business Surfin' Spoon was honored for the support given to the organization over the years.

Former pro surfer Jesse Hines and his wife Whitney own the business and their support has been exceptional—$15,000 contributed to insure that any child with autism who wants to see what it's like to ride a wave can do so.

What was also done this year, that has not been done in the past is to take the siblings of the autistic kids out on Jennette's Pier to go fishing. Admittedly the evening fishing was pretty slow, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the kids.

Mark Slagle, who was one of the founding member of Surfing for Autism, remarked that the idea was that it's important to include all of the family members in the experience, not just the kids with autism.

Saturday Surfing for Autism Event

The actual event has dozens of local surfers on the water with the kids, walking them out to the break on boards and showing them how to catch a wave. A lot of the time the surfer rides the board in with the child, but occasionally someone will really catch a wave.

It is an extraordinary thing to witness—powerful and emotional.

In the day to day struggles in helping their children deal with a world that often does not understand what is happening, some of the small things that many families take for granted are missed.

But on this day, the beach is filled with joy, laughter and pride.

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