ABOUT2018-05-25T14:41:24-07:00
Trevor Pikhart

Our Story

A Walk On Water (“AWOW”) provides Surf Therapy to children with special needs or disability. The ocean’s transformative properties empower our participants, who enjoy a much-deserved day of laughter, love, and acceptance alongside their family. For one perfect, restorative day at the beach, there are no labels. Everyone is an Athlete.

AWOW works closely with our local communities, businesses, volunteers and watermen — brought together in service of a shared mission — to help those most in need experience the calming and therapeutic effects of the electrifying, living ocean; and, in the process, showcase the best of surf culture.

Since launching in 2012, AWOW has welcomed over 1,000 families and provided Surf Therapy to over 2,000 children and adults in need. Our mission is to reach every child in need, especially those who have never had the chance to experience the healing power of Surf Therapy. Donations to A Walk On Water go directly to hosting additional events in new locales, serving ever more Athletes in need.

Surf therapy is the act of guided surf instruction — provided by expertly trained Surf Therapists — in concert with a carefully constructed support structure of volunteers and supporters; it truly takes a village. AWOW Athletes gain confidence through the magical thrill of a walk on water, experiencing the true “stoke” of surfing and a sense of pride and accomplishment — all while being cheered on by family and friends. Siblings (and even parents!) surf alongside the Athlete, allowing the family to bond over a powerful shared experience. At the end of the day, each Athlete is presented with the trophy they earned in front of all their cheering fans.

AWOW Surf Therapy is more than just surfing: the entire family unit is treated to a well-deserved day of respite, complete with healthy food and drink, live music, art, yoga, and more.The letters we receive from families after a day of Surf Therapy tell us all we need to know:

     “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see my child surf!”

     “The volunteers who are truly angels on earth have become like family!”

     “Our little family was loved and supported beyond what I could have ever anticipated.”

     “We went from sensory overload on the road (to a surf therapy event) to our son taking his noise reducing headphones off on the way back home.”

     “Noah returned to preschool the next week and was different. He was calm. He was participating. He was happy.”

     “Surf therapy is wonderful, and it works!”

AWOW Surf Therapy events are held across the United States, with the majority taking place in Southern California. Current, prospective, and past locations include: Austin, TX; Cardiff, CA; Huntington Beach, CA; Malibu, CA; Montauk, NY; Oceanside, CA; San Clemente, CA; San Diego, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Santa Monica, CA; Spring Lake, NJ; Venice, CA; Ventura, CA; and Virginia Beach, VA.

Events run March to November, and are subject to safe surf conditions. The therapeutic benefit of Surf Therapy has been shown to multiply with increased frequency of attendance, so Athletes are encouraged to attend as many Surf Therapy experiences as possible each year.

AWOW has set an audacious goal to reach over 1,000 children in need through Surf Therapy in 2018, and over 1,500 per year by 2020.

Sign up, donate, or learn more at www.awalkonwater.org

Surf Therapy

Surf Therapy

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.

Team AWOW

Team AWOW

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.

Surf Therapy healing us all!

Testimonials

A WETSUIT FOR CHRISTMAS

November 24th, 2018|

Thank you soo much for the surfing opportunity you gave my son Adam as well as his older brother Kyle last week at Solana Beach!! Adam had a blast and was very comfortable in the water with your caring ,passionate,wonderful team !! We drove two hours from San Bernardino and it was well worth it! Loved seeing all the kids there laughing and riding the waves…Adam can’t wait to surf again …Santa will be getting him a wetsuit for Christmas now lol..hope to see you guys next year…..

-Susan

 

BARRELED

November 21st, 2018|

Thank you to AWOW for your amazing generosity and healing surf therapy. I brought my daughter Gracie to the event at Cardiff by the Sea. From the moment we got out of the car, the kindness from your volunteer staff was overwhelming. From dragging my wagon down on the sand, to putting Gracie in her wetsuit, playing in the surf and ultimately when she was paired up with an instructor, every moment and layer of help was well planned and executed. I don’t often feel like I have someone who truly walks along side of me, when dealing with my highly energetic, developmentally delayed beautiful girl.  Today I felt connected and supported. AWOW really excelled at anticipating our needs and created a fun, family focused environment for the kids. Lastly,  I have to give a HUGE shoutout to our instructor Dale. He was the example of selflessness of that characterizes AWOW. He lost his house in the recent Malibu fire and 2 days later was on the beach with us. He was so good with Gracie and was really patient. The highlight of our day was him putting her in the barrel of the wave!  She came out of the water wanting “more surfing” and even though he was exhausted he paddled her out 2 more times for waves. My love and support goes out to A Walk on Water. Thank you for the memories. 

-Mindy

 

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By joining the AWOW Family you are forever changing the lives of families in need, and we welcome you to join us to personally witness the effect of your donation at an AWOW Surf Therapy event near you. Thank you for your donation.

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