Love and respect for our powerful ocean and surfing, and a desire to help those in need were the common bonds that brought the AWOW family together. The inspiration for A Walk On Water was sparked in 2000 at the 1st Annual Surfers Healing Pat Notaro Day at Malibu’s Surfrider Beach in Los Angeles, CA. Hosted by Variety The Children’s Charity, the event paid homage to Pat Notaro Jr., father of Pat Notaro, III, one of the founders of AWOW. Pat Jr. was a well-respected Malibu surfer, member of Variety The Children’s Charity and Sony Films executive. Through this event, the origins of A Walk On Water started to take shape. Longtime Surfers Healing volunteers Sean Swentek and Steven Lippman were brought into the fold to help mold Pat’s vision into what AWOW has become. When the opportunity arose to create a new surf event experience based out of Hollister Ranch, CA., one that was open to entire families and children of all walks, A Walk On Water was born. Some other key individuals who were there Day 1 to help create AWOW include: Jason Logan, Matt Noble, Jason Wolk, and too many more to name. The “A Walk On Water” name is derived from a movie script Pat’s grandfather was hoping to help produce before he passed away in 1970.
Over 2,000 children in need and their families have experienced the thrill of Surf Therapy and its therapeutic qualities since A Walk On Water launched in 2012. AWOW exists largely because of our amazing volunteers and the financial support of our generous partners. AWOW volunteers share a respect for their fellow man, the ocean and environment and most importantly: people in need. Our events are meant to raise awareness not only for humanitarian issues, but environmental as well. Without a clean and safe ocean habitat, athletes and their families will lose the ability to experience surfing and the stoke it provides. AWOW has a goal of reaching carbon-neutral status in 2018, and becoming STOKE certified.
Surf Therapy is defined as a form of water therapy whereby the participant is introduce to the ocean and surfing through guided surf instruction, either tandem surfing with an instructor on the same board, or surfing solo with close instructor oversight. Surf Therapy has been shown to have myriad positive effects, including
- Increased self-confidence and pride from successfully accomplishing a sometimes scary goal
- Improved interaction with peers and adults through the positive, supportive AWOW environment
Children experience the true “stoke” of surfing and a sense of accomplishment as family and friends cheer them on from the beach. Brothers and sisters also participate, helping to solidify an often strained bond between siblings. Our surf events focus on both the athletes and their families, who are treated to a well-deserved day of relaxation, healthy food, and lifestyle guidance.
A WALK ON WATER provides Surf Therapy to individuals with special needs.
We do this by hosting Surf Therapy events that celebrate and honor courageous kids, adults and their families. For one beautiful day at the beach, there are no labels. Everyone is an athlete.
The goal of Surf Therapy is for the athletes to feel the thrill and confidence that only “A Walk On Water” can provide. Their families are fully supported and cared for as they share a much deserved day of fun, relaxation, and respite.
We work closely with the local community, businesses and its volunteers and waterman. It is a true collaboration of like-minded individuals brought together in service of a shared mission – to help others experience the calming and therapeutic effects of the electrifying, living ocean and in the process showcase the best of surf culture.
AWOW’s extensive list of partners, along with our structure and volunteer base, bring each Surf Therapy event to life and facilitate an overwhelmingly positive experience for everyone who attends.