AWOW TEAM2019-05-04T06:58:19-07:00

Board of Directors


Laura Rubin

Laura Rubin is the founder of AllSwell, a collection of adventure travel expeditions, tailored experiences, creativity workshops and custom products designed to encourage analog artistic exploration. While the world has become undeniably digital, research shows that putting pen to paper is linked to increased well-being, and basically a boosted brain and that exposure to new environments and people opens our minds conceive novel ideas and create new connections.

In 2000, Laura established integrated communications boutique Left Left Right (LLR) Consulting. Having worked with some of today’s leading brands in wellness, action sports, design, surf, and philanthropy, she brings her trademark market-relevant insights to conceive and execute innovative, tailored campaigns to create compelling brand stories.

Laura functions as the Editor-at-Large of Whalebone Magazine, and splits her time between the West (Venice, CA) and East (NYC and Montauk, NY) coasts, contributing to both communities as a board member of nonprofit organizations A Walk On Water and LIMPIA.

Homebreak: Ditch Plains | Montauk, NY


Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

Emmy Award-nominated Jeff “Swampy” Marsh is creator and executive producer of Disney Channel’s animated comedy “Phineas and Ferb” for which he nabbed two Emmy nominations for ‘Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics’ and ‘Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music’ in 2008. He also writes songs heard in the series and voices the character of Major Monogram.

Over 20+ years, Marsh has worked for many of the top names in animation: Hanna-Barbera, Film Roman, Klasky Csupo and Nickelodeon.

He worked for over six seasons on the critically-acclaimed series “The Simpsons,” including three episodes that won Emmy Awards. He also worked as a storyboard artist and designer for the Emmy Award-winning series, “King of the Hill,” and for four seasons as a writer and director on “Rocko’s Modern Life,” gaining the show an Environmental Media Award. Additionally, he spearheaded production of several feature films and series for the UK-based BKN New Media Ltd. Marsh returned to the U.S. after six years of working various projects for the BBC, ITV and Carlton TV in the U.K.

Born in 1960 in Santa Monica, Swampy now lives and surfs in Venice, CA and has two children and four grandchildren.

Homebreak: Breakwater | Venice, CA


Steven Lippman

Steven was born in Los Angeles and, as a youth instantly fell in love with surfing and skateboarding. In the 1970’s, skateboarding was just beginning to emerge as a culture unto itself, and Steven was one of those who helped establish the style, moves, and music that is now indelibly associated with the scene. For years he traveled the world as a successful model and surf/skate competitor. It was during this time that he began taking photos, avidly documenting his friends and life on the road.

Steven’s talent was evident from the start, and when he returned to California, he embraced photography as a career, approaching his work with the same unflagging dedication that he does surfing. Steven has massaged his talent into becoming a successful commercial director. An avid environmentalist, Steven is the director of The Blue Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve the world’s oceans by combining the efforts of like-minded groups educating the masses. He is also an ambassador for SurfAid International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization whose aim is to improve the health, well being, and self-reliance of people living in isolated communities. Steven lives with his wife Ana and two children, Reilley and Ryder, in Malibu – where he is still an avid competitive surfer. A self-described family of artists and surfers, they all do their best to enjoy the ocean, even if only briefly, every single day.

Homebreak: A sweet little corner in LA


Jason Wolk

Jason Wolk has two sons, Lucas and Dylan; the youngest of the two has severe Special Needs. Wolk is committed to creating awareness of Autism as it affects both youths and adults. His commitment to such led to him being a founding board member of A Walk On Water in 2012.

Wolk has spent the last nineteen years line producing and overseeing the launch of advertising production companies.  Preceding that, Jason was a producer of motion pictures & television.  With a vast client list, and a history of delivering A-list work for almost every major creative agency in the USA, Jason’s production company Spears & Arrows has serviced almost every major existing brand.  Jason is extremely value driven and relies on morals, ethics, diligence and transparency in all his affairs, both personal and professional.


Jack Turturici

Jack grew up in Northern California and frequented not only the ocean in Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, but also the waters of Lake Tahoe. Jack was a lifeguard in his younger years and is part of our water safety crew for AWOW. Jack’s love of the water continues to this day; he enjoys surfing, swimming, stand-up and prone paddle boarding, water skiing, wake surfing and sailing.

Jack is a third generation real estate executive, and with his wife, Michele, founded Equity Advisors Real Estate in 2015 after spending decades working for several large real estate brokerages. Equity Advisors has an emphasis on residential sales, but Jack spent a decade handling commercial transactions so he takes care of commercial real estate deals for clients as needed. Jack and Michele, through Equity Advisors, donate 5% of all commissions earned back to A Walk On Water and 15% if it’s a direct referral from someone associated with AWOW.

Jack is honored to have joined the AWOW Board of Directors in 2018. He also sits on the Boardof Directors at his daughter’s school; Our Lady of Malibu. Jack loves spending time with his wife, and his daughter Mia. All three of them have embraced AWOW and consider the AWOW family part of their own. They reside in Malibu, CA.

Homebreak: Surfrider | Malibu, CA


Ari Markow

Ari is a native of Southern California. As a grom, he and his buddies spent their entire summers riding the local beach bus with their surfboards to and from Malibu Surfrider Beach until they were old enough to drive themselves to their favorite breaks. Ari’s passion for the ocean continues to run deep within him. He frequents breaks in North Los Angeles with his weekend surf crew made up of local dads and their children.

Ari has a long history of dedicating his time and energy to charitable causes that are focused on enriching the lives of children. He has held numerous leadership positions in the Triunfo YMCA, a branch of the YMCA of Southeast Ventura County and played an important role in its fundraising activities. He was the Federation Chief for the Triunfo YMCA Indian Guide and Princess program and is a past board member of the organization.

A proud father of four, Ari’s passion for A Walk On Water originates from his son who is autistic nonverbal. Ari’s son shares his love of the ocean, is happiest in the water and is proud to be one of the many A Walk On Water athletes. Ari’s three teenage daughters love volunteering at A Walk On Water surf therapy events.

Homebreak: County Line | Ventura, CA



Sean Swentek

Sean Swentek was born in Santa Cruz, CA and grew up all along the coast of CA – never straying far from the beach. He immersed himself in sports from a young age, becoming an accomplished beach volleyball player, while dabbling in nearly every other sport. The majority of his professional career was spent in the hospitality industry, developing his networking and marketing skills. Sean came from a very financially difficult family situation and has always relished the opportunity to improve the lives of those in need. He started his volunteer career 15 years ago with Special Olympics Southern California, also spending time with Children’s Miracle Network and Surfers Healing. It was on the beach with Surfers Healing that Sean first met Pat, and an instant bond was formed over a shared desire to better the lives of those in need.

Sean graduated with a degree in digital marketing from Arizona State University and currently works as Vice President of Social Media for Opus Bank. Sean has a passion for networking and connecting people and projects together and has a natural instinct for working with others, thriving in multitasking environments. He is also a certified sommelier and loves to explore the latest restaurants with his surgeon wife Dr. Lourdes, discovering exciting new food and drink.

Homebreak: Southside | Huntington Beach, CA



Kim Murphy

Kim Murphy was born in Southern California but raised in Northern California enjoying camping and waterskiing the beautiful lakes and rivers.

In search of better opportunities she moved back to So Cal and Kim was fortunate enough at a young age to begin her career as a Registered Dental Assistant for a thriving Orthodontic practice. 30 years later has never left that practice! She loves working with kids and found herself becoming intertwined with their families.

Since Kim was always drawn to the water, she was excited when her husband introduced her to surfing. She resides in Ventura with her husband and their two fur-babies-Haole (Ambassadog of AWOW) and Primo.

Kim was so grateful when the opportunity arose to become involved with A Walk On Water, an organization that combines her passions… children, her dog Haole, and surfing.

Homebreak: C-Street | Ventura




Scott Desiderio

Desi was born and raised in Southern California. While growing up in Orange County he was your pretty typical California kid surfing, skateboarding, riding BMX, and playing team sports like Baseball and Soccer. At a pretty early age Surfing took over as his sport of choice. Since then Desi has not looked back.

Desi is a long time surf industry/action sports veteran. Starting out as a competitive surfer, he began working for his sponsors to start his career. First working as operation manager for a small surfboard brand, Desi then went on to work in sales and marketing for an industry leading footwear and clothing company. Most recently, Desi was the Events Director at The Enthusiast Network, where he oversaw a portfolio of events for brands like TransWorld Surf, TransWorld Skate, Surfer Magazine, TransWorld Snowboarding, Stand Up Paddle and more.

Desi has come to AWOW as a seasoned events production professional with a passion for surfing and helping others. Desi spends his time at home in Oceanside, CA hanging with his wife and dog, surfing and enjoying the growing food scene in North County San Diego.

Homebreak: Oceanside Harbor or Pier


Kelsey Marie White

Kelsey Marie was born in Bellflower, CA, raised in Seal Beach, CA as well as Maui, Hawaii. Growing up in a diverse household Kelsey has become fluent in English, Spanish as well as American Sign Language.

She grew up surfing in Huntington Beach and on the island of Maui with her late cousin Eric Ibbetson. Along with surfing Kelsey Marie actively is involved in scuba diving, photography, journalism, Muay Thai, Kali, club soccer, horseback riding, writing code, and deep sea fishing.

While attending Los Alamitos High School she was the Manager of the Surf Team, after graduating Kelsey moved to Ventura, California at 18 to attend Brooks Institute as a Visual Journalism major with a focus on non-profits and military veterans with PTSD. She has since transferred to Mount Saint Mary’s University as part of the Journalism in New Media program and plans on completing her Masters in Psychology with a focus in Abnormal Psychology/PTSD and Addiction.

In addition to A Walk On Water, the other non profits Kelsey has been deeply involved with are: We Care Homeless Prevention of Los Alamitos, ARC of Downey, Royal Family Kids Camp, Honoring Our Fallen, National Charity League, Donate Life California, as well as being a full-time student, Kelsey is a Junior High Sunday school teacher at SeaCoast Grace Church in Cypress, California.

She spends any spare time in Seal Beach with her parents, 6 “brothers” and extended family. As well as traveling the coast of Southern California in her truck to numerous beaches surfing and volunteering with A Walk On Water.

Her continued motivations are her family, those she supports, her faith and her late best friend Kevin Woyjeck.

Homebreak: South Side | Seal Beach, CA & Little Makaha | Maui, HI

“Stay Solid.”- Kelsey Marie

East Coast Chapter


Walt (Zamora) Lindveld

Walt was born in Venezuela and migrated to the US with his dad at the age of 9. His first stop was Orlando, FL, where thanks to his dad’s love for the coastal life, he discovered the magic of the ocean waves during his many weekend trips to the beaches of Daytona and Cocoa Beach. With his teenage years spent living back and forth between his tropical homeland (with his mom) and Florida (with dad), Walt developed his addiction to surfing; and along with that – his 10 years of dedication to learning the art of making surfboards as a way of living the artist life.

Skip forward some years to a change of direction by circumstances too long to explain – Walt now strives with a very successful career as a creative, where he continues to this day as a Creative Director and award-winning Designer residing in New York. As a father to Clash, his amazing son who was born with Downs Syndrome, Walt’s passion for AWOW and the success of Surf Therapy was profound and life-changing – as personally experienced by his son Clash’s participation in the Surf Therapy program. Walt is now committed, head and heart, to help spread the AWOW mission to the East Coast as president of the AWOW East Coast Chapter.

Homebreak: Montauk, NY.


Dana has always been drawn to Mother Ocean and spent her childhood building sandcastles with her family at the Jersey shore and Montauk. Surfing caught her eye, but she didn’t know where to start. A friend inspired her to take lessons and at age 28 she caught her first wave on a chilly Memorial Day weekend in Westhampton Beach, NY – she’s never looked back. A seasoned Creative Director/Producer/Philanthropist, her passion remains fluid in story-telling within the worlds of production, music, wellness, culture, and philanthropy. Dana began her career at Sony Music Entertainment Inc. working for Thomas D. Mottola where she toured the world and broke bands. She founded Breathe Entertainment in 2009 as an outlet to create progressive content that lends one to shift focus. A Senior Producer for HBO, in 2016 Dana was hand-selected from over 100 international nominees as a recipient of the Time Warner Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Award for her expertise in growing Hip Hop Public Health, a successful grassroots 501c3 that educates through the power of music and whose mission is to end health illiteracy in inner-city youth. A certified 200-hour yoga instructor, her new company – Rock Om – is an inspirational hybrid of her love of yoga, live music, and pure stoke. Still, something was left to be found.

In September 2016 she tagged along with a friend to volunteer for AWOW MTK where she was introduced to the beautiful world of surf therapy – since then her life has completely taken a 180. Inspired by Tom – one of the athletes – and his jokes, the AWOW family, her home break along with the instructors who taught her how to surf – Dana has found her calling. Tapped into the impact of positively changing lives through the soul of the ocean and the waves she rides. Dana splits her time between the East + West coasts with a permanent endless summer on the horizon.

A Senior Producer for HBO, in 2016 Dana was hand-selected from over 100 international nominees as a recipient of the Time Warner Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Award for her expertise in growing Hip Hop Public Health, a successful grassroots 501c3 that educates through the power of music and whose mission is to end health illiteracy in inner-city youth. A certified 200-hour yoga instructor, her new company – Rock Om – is an inspirational hybrid of her love of yoga, live music, and pure stoke. Still, something was left to be found. In September 2016 she tagged along with a friend to volunteer for AWOW MTK where she was introduced to the beautiful world of surf therapy – since then her life has completely taken a 180. Inspired by Tom – one of the athletes – and his jokes, the AWOW family, her home break along with the instructors who taught her how to surf – Dana has found her calling. Tapped into the impact of positively changing lives through the soul of the ocean and the waves she rides. Dana splits her time between the East + West coasts with a permanent endless summer on the horizon.

Homebreak: Ditch Plains | Montauk, NY


Madeline Javier was born and raised in the East Bay of Northern California. Her parents Susan and Ricardo still reside there today, alongside her brother Jack. She attended University of California Santa Barbara where she received a BFA with an emphasis in Critical Theory. Madeline lived in Santa Barbara for five years until she moved south to pursue a Masters in Education. Today Madeline co-owns Strfsh Wetsuits alongside her best friend Alyxandra Tortorice. Madeline oversees production and administration for the company.

Madeline was introduced to surfing through her partner, Gavin Krug. The two met during her time at UCSB. Today the couple splits their time between San Clemente, in southern California and Montauk, New York. Gavin is an instructor for CoreysWave, one of AWOW’s East Coast partners. Through Corey and Kristin, the owners, Madeline was introduced to A Walk on Water. Since 2015 she has volunteered at various events. She is excited to put her skills to use and help build the East Coast chapter of AWOW.

Homebreak: San Clemente, CA & Montauk, NY

Advisory Board


Dale Rhodes

Dale Rhodes is a true Southern California native – embodying the eponymous California active lifestyle. Rhodes grew up in the Los Angeles area playing baseball and skateboarding at a very young age until he stumbled onto surfing the catalyst that launched his deep love of the ocean and surfing, was a 4-month surf trip to Panama with family members from Hawaii who were working on a surf movie.

He honed his surfing skills as a top rated NSSA amateur surfing champion in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. During this time he also worked in the surfing industry and embarked on a successful career as a top sales representative and executive with brands such as Hurley and now, KatinUSA.

3 years ago Dale found his purpose in life after working with special needs children at an A Walk On Water event, which struck a chord with him. He later forged a strategic partnership with KatinUSA and A Walk On Water which dovetailed with both companies desire in giving back to humanity.

Today, Dale Rhodes is the Vice President of Sales at KatinUSA, volunteers his time as a coach for Malibu High School Surf Team and mentors top rated amateur athletes.

Dale resides on Point Dume in Malibu and enjoys bonding with daughter Saxon Ryan Rhodes over their mutual passion for surfing.

Homebreak: A sweet little corner in LA.


Denise Olson-Drury

Denise has lived in California her whole life and grew up on Hollywood Beach in Oxnard. She worked at her family-owned restaurant, Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut, and later became a registered nurse. Denise was as an ER nurse for several years and now works as a nurse in social services at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura. She is a mother of two adult daughters, Kaley, who is also studying to be a nurse and Kirra, who is a personal trainer. Both girls attended surf camps in their adolescent years.

Denise has always had a heart for children and individuals with special needs. She met the AWOW team at Ventura’s Surf Rodeo and was drawn to the organization because of the incredible work they do with the athletes in the healing ocean. She initially became involved to support her great-nephew, Andrew, who has autism and quickly began volunteering in the wetsuit tent. She loves the interaction with the athletes, siblings, and families while putting on the gear needed to get in the water.


Greg Hudson

Born in Lompoc, moved to Westlake Village at the age of 10.

Married to Lisa and lives in Newbury Park with 3 kids Torri, Jack and AWOW athlete Leo.

Started a career in the automotive industry and turned it into a fun hobby. Has been in the construction field for almost 20 years, currently a project manager for a custom home builder.

Loves drag racing, hockey, riding motorcycles (street and dirt) and going to the lake.

Does stuff for AWOW.


Jason Logan

Jason Logan was born in Ventura, CA and was practically raised on a motorbike, with an insatiable passion for the open road. He fuels his first love by coordinating biker runs and charity rides, having raised tens of thousands of dollars over the years for numerous nonprofits.

A man of action, but few words, Jason is extremely detailed and his passion for perfection is vital to AWOW’s success.

He is happily married to wife Melissa and has two beautiful children. He has successfully owned and operated his own landscape and masonry business – Outdoor Creations – for many years. In his spare time, Jason enjoys hitting the open road on his Harley Davidson, getting fit and spending time with his family.


Jennifer Pooley

Passionate about the ocean and storytelling since she very young, Jennifer spent twelve years as an acquisitions editor at HarperCollins Publishers in New York City before moving west to Los Angeles in 2010 where she established her own literary development company. After reading about THERAsurf in Los Angeles Magazine in early 2013, Jennifer wrote to them asking if she might become a volunteer. From her first event at Surfrider Beach in Malibu, surf therapy became her devotion and she also began volunteering with Surfers Healing and A Walk on Water where she now serves as AWOW’s Athlete Chaperone Team Lead. Beyond the waves, Jennifer has been a wish granter with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, volunteered in Los Angeles and New York City public schools with such groups as Young Storytellers and Everybody Wins and began mentoring Regine Roy, a Washington Irving High School student, in 2003 who is still in her life and who went on to found Queen Geniuses Inc., a non-profit devoted to empowering teenage girls from low-income communities. She reads and edits at sea level whenever possible at Tower 29 between Marine and Rose on the border of Venice and Santa Monica.


John Murphy

John Murphy, raised in the Santa Clarita Valley has been an athlete his whole life. His younger years into his 20’s were spent playing baseball. As a hobby on the side, he was an Off-Road Desert racer. In the early 2000’s John traded the desert for the ocean. He felt that surfing was a much better activity for him and his wife, Kim to share.

John works as an On-Site Supervisor/Heavy Equipment Operator for Toro Enterprises and resides in Ventura with his wife Kim, and their two dogs Haole and Primo.

Two years ago John had the opportunity to experience an AWOW event with the family surfing dog Haole, and it was a perfect fit! John and his wife Kim fell in love with the soothing power of surfing and being able to help others receive that same gift has been exceptionally rewarding for them.

As fate would have it Haole wanted to surf with his Dad and Mom, and now they are very happily settled in with A Walk On Water.

Homebreak: C-Street, Ventura


Matt Bathalter

Matt Bathalter was born May 11th, 1975 in Arcadia, CA and lived on Huntington Drive. As soon as he learned to walk, his parents knew they had to move off the busy street and out to San Dimas, CA. When Matt was 10, he camped with his uncle and cousin at San Diego Bay for a week. They would water ski (before wakeboards) every morning and hit the surf the rest of the day. That was when his love for the ocean took off. Matt attended San Dimas High School where he played varsity basketball and baseball. He also met his future wife and AWOW Mom Cindy… although she didn’t think so at the time. Seven years after graduating, they started dating and were married in 2003 and are proud parents of a daughter and four sons.

Matt and Cindy started as AWOW parents and loved that the organization not only took out the special needs athletes for surf therapy but also took out their siblings for sessions. And with four brothers, that was special and unique! After a couple of events, Pat asked Matt to assist with water safety and he jumped at the chance to help a great guy and organization. Today Matt assists the water and beach safety teams at any AWOW event he can attend. He loves seeing his kids on the beach and in the surf and Cindy with her camera. “AWOW events are always such a GREAT day and the whole family has such a good time. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that!?” – Matt Bathalter.

Homebreak: River Jetties | Newport Beach, CA


Nikki was born in Los Angeles and grew up in South Orange County. She has worked at Reach Out World Wide (ROWW) for the past four years. Before her stint with ROWW, she was a professional dancer and instructor, a nanny to children with special needs, an EMT Academy Grad and a consultant. She volunteers her time with AWOW as well as a number of other organizations including the Irvine Police Department’s Community Response Team, The Purist Group, Operation Gratitude, Swarga House in Nepal and Organization of World Leaders (OWL) to name a few. She got involved with AWOW after discussing it with a surf instructor she met while working at another charity.


Samuel Morgan

Samuel Morgan is a Southern California resident who grew up in the Inland Empire. In his youth, his was involved in baseball, BMX, and Stage Craft. After high school, he studied psychology in college. In his spare time, he traveled to places such as Alaska and Ireland.

Samuel has been working for Kaiser Permanente for the past 10 years. He met his wife Jennifer in 2002. They both have three children together; their middle child Jacob has Autism.

From the beginning, Samuel was proactive in educating himself about the neurological condition. Since his son met Steven Lippmann at the age of 3 he knew surfing was the perfect therapy for Jacob. His goal is to reach out to other families with special needs children to share the stoke of surf therapy.


Stephanie Cummings

Stephanie was born in San Diego, CA and raised in two very large surfing communities. Going from Ocean Beach to Ventura, a passion for the ocean was established. Having a dad who was so passionate about the water and the environment lead to her volunteering with Surfrider from about the age of 5.

While attending Ventura High School, Stephanie decided to run for vice president of Heal the Beach club as a freshman. That club became her life and over the years, they held numerous beach cleanups, paddleboard races and surf competitions. During the summers, she would spend her time wakeboarding at Mission Bay Aquatic Center and volunteering with the Windensea Surf Club with the Special Needs Day at the Beach and the Kids Day at the Beach which took children from local homeless shelters to La Jolla shores for a day of fun in the sun.
Stephanie attended her first A Walk on Water event at Hollister Ranch. She still remembers hobbling around on crutches and finally throwing them down and trying to run around after knee surgery a week before. That day was one of the best of her life. And from then on, she was hooked on AWOW!

In addition to A Walk on Water, Stephanie volunteers with Life Rolls On, Surfrider, Medical Reserve Corps and the American Red Cross. She can be found studying for nursing school, playing with her 9 month old daughter Harley and 9 month old puppy Maple, or planning traveling adventures with her fiancé Brian. If you see her at an event be sure to say hi!



Scott Caan

Scott Caan grew up in Los Angeles surfing Santa Monica and Venice, he has been helping people experience the therapeutic calm and stoke of the ocean through surfing for over 15 years.

He has been surfing and skateboarding since he was 12.

Scott originally got involved with being a surf instructor for Surfers Healing with the Pascowitz family. One day when Scott was in Malibu he was watching an event they were having at and they had too many kids and not enough surf instructors. He was friendly with one of the brothers who knew that he was very familiar with the waves at Malibu, he was then asked to help out. He has been helping kids and adults surf ever since.

Along with A Walk On Water has also worked with Surfers Healing, Thera Surf, and Life Rolls On, Scott has taken kids and adults with special needs surfing on his own with no affiliation to any of the above-mentioned charities.

Scott has been working with AWOW since its conception and selfishly takes advantage of any opportunity to take a kid into the water and go surfing.

Homebreak: Surfrider | Malibu,CA

“Nothing makes me happier.” – Scott Caan


Pancho Sullivan

Born on the Island of Kauai in a tree house and raised on the North Shore of Oahu Pancho Sullivan’s life was set out to be nothing less than extraordinary. Drawn to life as a pro surfer by fate, Pancho cut his teeth on the most challenging waves in the world, quickly being recognized as a powerhouse.

He competed professionally for 20 years finishing 7th on the World Championship Tour. Walking away from the tour on his own terms, Pancho is now dedicated to new challenges that he tackles head-on including working with Island Daze, establishing Aulta Surf, and coaching some of the best surfers in the world to victory.

Homebreak: Sunset Beach | Oahu,HI

Junior Ambassadors


Django Marsh

Born in England in 2001, he came to California in 2006. By the time he was 8, he was involved in sailing, surfing and ice hockey. In middle school ice hockey was replaced by the school swim team, but sailing and surfing have always remained a staple in his life.

He first volunteered for AWOW in 2013, received his jacket in April of 2016, (Just in time for his 15th birthday) and became an ambassador the following year. Django is currently enrolled at New Roads High School in Santa Monica, (where he is also an ambassador and a member of the leadership council). He is actively involved in the film department, theater and the swim team.

Homebreak: Venice Breakwater | CA


Nathan Fagan

Nathan Fagan is a 17 year old photographer. Living in Malibu has given him an appreciation of the Ocean at a young age. Nathan competed in the junior Olympics in freestyle and breast stroke at the age of 11. He became scuba certified at the young age of 12. At 13 he turned his love for the water and photography into becoming the youngest photographer for a walk on water. Nathan’s work can be found hanging on the walls of local malibu restaurant Casa Escobar and is also sold at rip curl Malibu.

Homebreak: Venice Breakwater | CA



My name is Haole and I am an 9 year old Yellow Lab whose true passion is surfing. I reside in Ventura, Ca with my parents John and Kim Murphy, & my younger dog brother Primo. I have been enjoying beach life since I was 4 months old.A couple of months before my 5th birthday, I “told” my parents I wanted to surf! Upon swimming out to my Dad coming in on a wave, I attempted to get on my Dad’s board and have literally been surfing ever since.

Prior to retiring, I had been competing in the dog surfing circuit for over 3 years, and my parents say I’m well respected throughout the surf dog community. However,my main focus is my involvement with A Walk on Water. My Mom says my calm, mild nature allows me to connect with all people especially children. I have an incredible way of earning their trust. My parents and I find pure happiness in sharing the stoke of surfing with the A Walk on Water athletes and their families. This is my third year surfing with AWOW. According to my Dad, my best quality is making people smile as I cruise in on my waves. I’ve been told that I have the soul of an old surfer, laid back and always happy, and have brought much happiness to those whom I have met along the way. I am proud to represent AWOW as their Ambassadog, am recognized as a Canine Good Citizen, and will continue to surf & spread stoke as long as my 4 legs will allow.

Homebreak: C-Street | Ventura, CA



July 12th, 2019|

My son, Skylar, was born with many challenges. His doctors and nurses did not think he was going to survive. Skylar the Fighter is now approaching 3 years old. He has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is G Tube dependent. Skylar participates in 9-10 therapies each week (OT- feeding, PT- motor skills, Speech, Early Intervention and horseback riding therapy). My wife has dedicated the last couple of years to make sure that Skylar has all of the therapies he needs in order to thrive. My mother introduced us to A Walk on Water recently. We participated in our first surf therapy session in Ventura, Ca. We had the most amazing time at the event! It felt like a big happy family. Everybody in attendance was there for the same reason- allowing our special needs children the ability to have a great time in a wonderful beach setting with extraordinary instructors. AWOW was so welcoming from the moment we arrived to the registration tent. The volunteers, staff, and surf instructors were fabulous! We were on the wait list so we really didn’t know if Sky was going to have the chance to get out on the water. A couple spots opened up, lucky us! Sky was fitted for a wet suit and life jacket. I was very nervous to send our special needs kid into the ocean with someone I’ve never met before. We were guided to the North end of the beach to meet the surf instructors. Skylar was paired up with Anthony, who has been working with AWOW for approx 7 years. The surf boards appear to be longer than a typical long board and wider as well. Anthony assured us that Sky was in good hands. He is a very experienced surfer and that helped ease some of my anxiety. There were so many people in the water during the afternoon surf session. The safety crew wearing red rash guards seemed to be everywhere in the event someone fell off. Skylar and Anthony were in the water for about 60-75 minutes. We could tell that Sky was having so much fun. They caught 4-5 waves and Sky even stood up on the board with assistance. There’s an adrenaline rush that takes over when you watch your kid conquer the ocean on a surf board. It almost brought happy tears to our eyes. Special needs families struggle emotionally every day because life has not turned out the way we envisioned. Today we are all champions! Thank you AWOW for providing a safe place where dreams do come true. We have been on a “surf high” for a couple weeks now and are absolutely hooked. See you next time in Huntington Beach! Our family purchased a bunch of items from the merch tent in Ventura. We are so proud to wear AWOW gear in public. Thank you for giving us a memory we will never forget.



July 11th, 2019|

AWOW is an outstanding surfing organization of extremely caring, experienced, and committed volunteers, surfing instructors and therapists that have impacted in many positive ways the life of our son who is a person on the spectrum (ASD). Because our son has also other neurological conditions that limit him to participate in regular sports, prior to finding out about AWOW we could not even imagine that our son one day would be able to acquire the skills necessary to surf. Due to many sensory integration challenges, such as having defensiveness to the water or not being able to tolerate the water or the lack of mastering swimming skills because of a developmental coordination disorder, our son has had many disadvantages growing up despite the many therapies we have consistently provided for him.

In 2018, we first made it to the surfing event in Malibu along with an additional ABA therapist to provide support for our son in his efforts to experience surfing for the first time in his life. Needless to say, the event was super organized, accessible, and the volunteers and staff welcomed us by embracing us with kindness and assisted us to get situated into a safe and relaxing space for the entire family. The Malibu surfing event was definitely relaxing, therapeutic and transformative for our son.

This positive experience made our son feel safe and supported into what we consider his new community where he feels accepted without any judgement because even though he “does not look autistic” or “does not look disabled,” statements we often hear, our son now enjoys surfing and truly appreciates the opportunity he receives at each surfing event we get invited to attend, whether it’s Malibu, Huntington or Ventura beach.

We are willing to travel long distance, so that our son can spend time with other athletes and enjoy the calming yet powerful effects of the ocean under the care and supervision of the most dedicated surfing instructors. We trust our son’s safety and forever are grateful to the AWOW team for engaging our son in this memorable surfing experience. We’re looking forward to our next surfing event at Bolsa Chica!!!

Thank you and may God bless this organization so that other children with disabilities may have the opportunity our son has had so far.



Join the A WALK ON WATER Family

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.