A new date has been set for the Surfers Healing event canceled in June after sharks were spotted close to shore at Doheny State Beach, where more than 100 children with autism were going to ride waves.
The June 21 event was postponed because of a sighting a day before the scheduled Dana Point event. The event will now be held Sept. 21.
“I wouldn’t jeopardize our kids for the world,” said Surfers Healing founder Izzy Paskowitz.
Families who were previously signed up will have first priority, but organizers expect there will be a few spots open because of scheduling conflicts.
“I think the sharks will migrate and hopefully they will be gone by the time we get there,” Paskowitz said on a recent day, while hosting a Surfers Healing event in San Diego. “But we will be just as vigilant and just as cautious.”
He plans on hiring extra lifeguards for the day and possibly getting a personal watercraft to patrol the area.
Surfers Healing helps thousands of children with autism each year at free camps held around the world. Paskowitz said it was the first time he’s canceled a camp in 20 years of hosting the event.
“I really appreciate the reaction that I had, because I know maybe people think we’re go-for-it surfers,” he said. “But I really put so much thought into the event and safety.”
He said he also needs volunteers from the surfing community.
“Orange County is the hardest camp to get volunteers. Everyone is so damn busy,” he said, noting that people come from as far as Hawaii and New Zealand to help with the event. “I wish the Orange County longboarding community would step up and understand this means so much to these parents. At the end of your life, all that matters is what have you done.”
And the pay off, as he knows from two…