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International Surfing Day Spotlight: It’s ALL About the Youth

Jun 17, 2022

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Once again, to honor this year’s International Surfing Day, we are spotlighting a surf-related organization that’s near and dear to GoPro, Bay Area-based City Surf Project. City Surf Project’s (CSP) mission is to ensure equitable access to the coastline and improve the health and well-being of San Francisco Bay Area youth through surf instruction. 


City Surf Project will be hosting its fifth annual Surf-a-Thon on Saturday, June 18, an important fundraiser that supports summer surf programs aimed at helping youth get off their screens and into the ocean. Whether you’re celebrating International Surfing Day, Juneteenth, Father’s Day, Pride Month, or all of the above, City Surf Project invites you out to Ocean Beach (IRL) or to your local beach (to participate virtually) to join them on a party wave and surf for a cause—click here for more information.


The following words are by Christopher Clark, a City Surf Project volunteer and GoPro’s VP of Corporate Communications.


Pre-pandemic, a group of GoPro volunteers regularly headed out to support City Surf Project (CSP) during the program’s surf days—providing a refreshing break from office work and an experience that left us inspired. Many attended community events and fundraisers, and a handful have shared their professional expertise by serving on the CSP board. The onset of COVID changed the volunteer experience and led to a beautiful transformation that shifted the bulk of instruction support from the volunteer pool to a group of dedicated, passionate alumni staff.


Inspired by their Surf Instruction Leadership Training (SILT) program, which trains high school students who have participated in a CSP program to become assistant surf instructors, CSP launched a program to train and hire alumni instructors starting in the fall of 2020, making alumni surf instructors core to the program and enabling CSP to serve its youth as they mature through the program. 


By hiring alumni as surf coaches to provide year-round instruction, CSP is providing a deeply authentic connection with the youth it serves by offering instruction from peers who walked through the same school hallways and surfed (possibly literally) in the same surf booties.


Some of the students who have helped tell the CSP story in past GoPro for a Cause productions (like Tre’von in 2016 and Angely & Maria in 2019) have become key CSP leaders who guide surf days for a younger generation, fostering a new cycle of support from within the community.


Some of my favorite personal moments in the past five years have been connecting with CSP youth on surf days and seeing their joy and perseverance as they progress through the challenges and setbacks of learning to surf. To now see some of these former CSP youth helping to run the show out there today brings me to a greater level of admiration for the commitment CSP has to its mission. 


Along with many of my colleagues at GoPro, I continue to be inspired by the work you do, City Surf Project, and always look forward to my days in the water (or at CSP HQ) with you.


In the meantime, I’ll be surfing for Team City Surf Project in their 5th annual Surf-a-Thon, and I hope some of you—the GoPro community—will join me in participating (surfing, donating or fundraising) from wherever you are in the world.

COVER IMAGE: Alumni surf instructor, Josh Salmon, making his way down the line.

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