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.

Outer Banks Matthew Recap

Construction on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk, repairing damage done by Hurricane Matthew.
Construction on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk, repairing damage done by Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew is almost two weeks gone and we’re still dealing with the lingering effects here on the Outer Banks.

Everything is open and there is plenty for our visitors to do, but look around and evidence of its passage is not hard to find.

Large puddles still cover some parking lots and lower lying roads. For our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. guests hailing from towns and cities away from the coast, it may seem strange. Living on the coast, however, there is an acceptance that we’re at sea level, and there is no place for the water to drain to.

The other part to why the water is still there…it’s actually ground water. The rains fell so hard and so fast and there was so much of it, that the water table rose to the surface. The water table is subsiding, but it is going to take another couple of weeks.

Different areas of the Outer Bank suffered different amounts of damage. Our friends down on Hatteras Island really got hammered, but roads are open and things are just about back to normal.

We had some of the worst flooding we’ve seen on the ocean side in Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. In Nags Head two of our favorite places on the Beach Road, Seagreen Gallery and Surfin’ Spoon, really took a beating. Seagreen should be reopening soon if they haven’t already—we didn’t get a chance to check this week. Surfin’ Spoon will take longer; they lost some of their equipmen.

Most of the Outer Banks roads came through remarkably well. The glaring exception is the Beach Road in front of the Black Pelican in Kitty Hawk. Just to the north of where the ocean wiped out the road, NCDOT had replaced the road last year and protected the roadbed with giant sandbags. The process is being extended to the new section that was damaged. Construction typically takes about one to two months so expect the road to be reopened sometime around Thanksgiving.