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Finding Community and Making Waves with City Surf Project – Sanuk®

Last month, Sanuk ambassador Hunter Jones teamed up with San Francisco based non-profit City Surf Project by spending the day surfing and hanging out with Bay Area youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience ocean recreation and stewardship. Our friends over at CSP have introduced over 2000 youth to surfing since their inception (80% of which who had never had an experience in the ocean), giving them the opportunity to engage with the natural world and in turn boosting their self confidence and improving their social-emotional learning skills.

Follow along as we recap the day with a quick Q&A session with Hunter and the City Surf Crew!

Image Description: Hunter Jones - Pro Surfer and Sanuk Ambassador

Sanuk: Give us a little background on why you made the journey to the Bay Area to team up with CSP.

Hunter: City Surf is an organization that brings kids to the ocean and they teach them how to surf and give them some life skills. We’re going to surf a little longboard style wave, spread some smiles and just spend the day with them.

Sanuk: What impacted you the most from spending the day with CSP?

Hunter: Surfing changed the direction of my life and to get the spend the day with the youth at the City Surf Project, share a little bit about my journey and to inspire them to go after their thing and their dreams was super special.

Sanuk: Out of all of the conversations you had with the CSP youth, was there a specific piece of advice that you wanted to pass on that has helped you throughout your life and career?

Hunter: Something my dad always told me growing up was that you can do anything you put your mind to. If it’s surfing, if it’s art, if it’s dancing, I think its really important to speak those things into existence and to go after what you love, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

Sanuk: Were there any mental tools that you have used that you wanted to pass on to the kids at CSP?

Hunter: We all have different lives, we all come from different backgrounds, we have different barriers that come in our way and we can only control what we can control. So for me, I know I could work on my surfing. I could surround myself with good people, kinda like what CSP has here… a rad community. Those are the things in life that I think you really need to invest in

Image Description: Johnny Irwin - CSP Executive Director

Sanuk: In short, what is the goal of CSP?

Johnny, CSP Exec. Director: We work with kids in the city that normally wouldn’t get a chance to go surfing, or experience the ocean and build life skills as well as environmental stewardship through surfing.

Sanuk: What inspires you the most when working with these young folks?

Johnny: Just how much surfing can have an impact on someone’s life…. ya know they might be struggling in school and they go surfing and have that sense of belonging, sense of community that we give them. Also, as surfers I think we sometimes take it for granted how much surfing keeps us mentally in a stable place and when you see that from the third person and see youth that go out time and time again, you see what the ocean can do. Its been awesome to see.

Sanuk: What has the community’s reaction been to CSP?

Johnny: For a lot of families, surfing is super foreign. When you think of surfing, you don’t think of people of color surfing, but we’re slowly changing that landscape and slowly changing the face of the lineup. When we bring our youth out, people are super stoked on it.

Image Description: Left: Angeli "Jeli" Lopez - CSP Student; Right: Carolina Irizarry - CSP Leader

Sanuk: How has surfing changed your life?

Carolina, CSP Leader: Surfing has changed just about everything. I started as a student and now I get to be a leader. Seeing “Jeli” representing women of color, women of this generation who are surfing and I love getting to come out every single week and saying, “ya, I surf with them”.

Jeli, CSP Student:: Its amazing to put your soul out there and not be judged.