iSurf School, Santa Barbara’s only women’s surf school, is hosting its second annual Block Party, the largest fundraiser for the Watergirl Fund.


Girls practice how to pop up on a surfboard. (iSurf School photo)

The fund is a community surf program that gets girls ages 5 to 15 surfing and experiencing the ocean. In its first year the program was able to get 40 girls surfing for a quarter each, providing more than 300 surf sessions to girls who would not otherwise have had access to the sport.

iSurf‘s ultimate mission is to break down the barriers that prevent women from surfing, be they physical, emotional or financial. Learning to surf is hugely empowering for all of the girls and women who go through our program as it builds confidence, community and camaraderie. Furthermore, it pushes the girls to try things outside of their normal sphere of comfort and at iSurf that is seen as an invaluable experience.

“I think it’s really important to teach girls to surf because surfing is traditionally a male-dominated sport and through this program they learn that it doesn’t have to be that way, that girls can do anything — they are strong, smart, bold and this program is a wonderful way to show them that,” said Kyrie Belme, associate program manager at Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.

This year’s Block Party is being held from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30 at Casa De La Guerra, 15 E. De la Guerra St. in Santa Barbara, and will include the event’s signature pig roast and ice cream stand, a silent auction, raffle, music, and beer and wine. The goal is to raise $20,000 to extend the program to up to 75 girls to attend a quarter of after-school program.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Entry includes dinner, dessert and two drink tickets. Click here to order tickets.

The Santa Barbara community has really rallied around the Watergirl effort, supporting the program through sponsorships and donations. The second annual iSurf Block Party is sponsored by Tillys, SeaVees, Carve Designs and Crossfit Santa Barbara. There are also a great number of local donors contributing items to the silent auction including Lole Atelier, Toad & Co, Wine Cask, Full of Life Flatbread, Barbareno and many more (click here for a complete list).

Alelia Parenteau, director of the Watergirl Fund, shares that “it has been amazing to watch these girls blossom into brave and confident surfers. Many of them started the program as timid and fearful of the water and by the end of the quarter they were just beaming and couldn’t wait until they get into the water. That is the magic of surfing!”

iSurf School is the Central Coast’s only surf school dedicated to empowering women of all ages through the sport of surfing. Though a young school, they are making great strides in providing access to surf lessons to anyone who is interested, regardless of their financial situation. By providing an affordable summer camp in partnership with the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, unbeatable annual membership pricing and super affordable after-school program, iSurf is making sure that anyone who wants to get in the water and surf, can.

— Alelia Parenteau is the owner of iSurf School and director of the Watergirl Fund.