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Autism Society Chapter Shores Up Summer Fun at Surf and Beach Day

The event is free to families with children and young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities; RSVPs are due today.

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Steven Holm takes a surfing lesson from a member of the Santa Barbara Seals at last year’s Surf and Beach Day. (Brad Elliott photo)

The Autism Society of America’s Santa Barbara Chapter will host its annual Surf and Beach Day at Leadbetter Beach on Saturday for families with children with autism or other developmental disabilities.

The Hawaiian-themed event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes surf lessons from the Santa Barbara Seals as well as plenty of beach-related activities for all ages.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf and Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum are expected at the event about 10:30 a.m. to show their support.

The SB Seals have been volunteering with ASASB’s annual Surf and Beach Day event since its beginnings four years ago. Equipped with wetsuits, beginner boards and an intimate teacher-student ratio of 3-to-1, they cater the event to the individual needs of the children.

“We are interested in giving the kids an ocean experience,” SB Seals Director JP Garcia said. “We encourage them to try surfing, but we have stations set up so kids can try different things.”

ASASB is the leading nonprofit organization in Santa Barbara County serving families with children with autism and related disorders. For more than four years, it has provided a community of support through events such as Saturday’s beach day.

For those who aren’t interested in learning how to surf on Saturday, the event offers fun alternatives including kayaking, boogie boarding, touch tanks and Indo boarding.

Snacks and drinks will be provided; however, families are encouraged to bring a picnic, beach toys and sunscreen. Each child also will go home with a goodie bag from ASASB. 

The event is free to families with children and young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities, and requires an RSVP by today, Aug 14. To register or for information, call Marcia Eichelberger at 805.560.3762.

Individuals or businesses interested in donating to this event can contact Marc Gamberdella at [email protected] ASASB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so all donations are tax deductible.

Noozhawk intern Mollie Helmuth can be reached at [email protected]

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