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Surfers Healing helps autistic individuals catch waves in Malibu

Surfers Healing volunteer Wendy Guerrero gives a thumbs up as the organization’s volunteers help children and young adults with autism surf on June 3 at Surfrider Beach. Photos by Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media
Sebastian Van Gelder, 6, of Utah, poses by a Surfers Healing display in his first year of participation at the event in Malibu.
Surfers Healing founders Danielle (left) and Izzy Paskowitz (right) welcome participants, along with their son Isaiah, who inspired the nonprofit’s formation.
Suzy Demeter, Freelance Reporter
7:44 am PDT June 13, 2017

Surfers Healing lived up to its name as it brought surfers, gleeful spectators and volunteers together at Malibu Surfrider Beach on June 3.

The nonprofit’s mission is to help children, teens and young adults with autism to experience the enjoyment of surfing in the ocean. The organization was founded by Izzy and Danielle Paskowitzs, whose adult son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3.

Volunteers assisted in all aspects of the event. Surfers paddled out and gently guided children and young adults onto small rolling waves.

Participants each spent roughly 30 minutes in the water. Founder Danielle Paskowitz said they scheduled the riders to come in time slots, which made the activities run smoothly.

The event was a rewarding one not only for the young participants, but also for their loved ones, who were happily spectating from the shore.

“He loves the water. It’s a safe place. Everyone is in the same boat and everybody understands,” said Gina Hubert, mom of 18-year-old Tate. 

“It’s incredible. For an entire year he has talked about his surf buddy and his surf buddy Sean,” said Charissa Krzywada while her 4-year-old son Logan enjoyed his second year at the event.  

Emma Agramont said of her 16-year-old son Junior, “I just really like that he’s enjoying his day.”

“Kids calm down when they get in the water,” said Michelle Prenovost, mom of surfer volunteer Sean Prenovost, while proudly observing the event. “It’s just amazing. It feeds the soul.”

Families traveled from long distances — some attendees hailed from as far as Utah and Nevada — to reach the event in appreciation of the benefit that Surfers Healing brings.

One could see how the Paskowitz family has touched the lives of the family members through their responses in enthusiasm and great smiles at this healing gathering at Surfrider Beach