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.