Friday, May 9, 2008

Surf camp offers rounded approach to sport


A summer camp that is undoubtedly the envy of millions of landlocked young people would have to be the week long Surf and Water Safety Summer Camp, which is provided by Santa Barbara Surf Adventures.
The string of surf camps kick off on June 17, two days after school ends, and run each consecutive week through the end of August, just before school resumes.

J.P. Garcia, the camp’s director for the past three years, said the camp focuses on many aspects of life in the water and the beach, including everything from surfing technique to protecting the environment.
“We’re really just trying to build the kids’ confidence in the water,” he said. “If they’re confident and comfortable in the water they’re going to pick up the concept of surfing much quicker.”
On days without surf the participants learn about surf history and culture, ocean appreciation and environmental issues.
Garcia said camp participants are given a raffle ticket for every 10 pieces of trash they pick up. Last year he said 20,000 pieces of trash were gathered on Ledbetter Beach, the home base of the camp.
The camp costs $290 for the first week and $220 for each week thereafter. The surf company Billabong sponsors the camp and participants are given a T-shirt and other surfing related items. On the last day of each camp, Garcia said a professional surfer makes an appearance, answers questions and signs autographs.
Garcia said the camp helps instill in those who participate an appreciation for the environment, surfing and themselves.
“I think in general it’s important for kids to be passionate about something,” he said. “I think when kids are busy they stay out of trouble.”
More information about the camp is available at Wetsuits and soft surfboards are provided.

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