The Surfing for Hope Benefit and Surf Competition was founded on September 22, 2011. Our program visionary Bob Voglin recalls, “The idea first came to me at a swim meet at Arroyo Grande High School where I was volunteering at a booth for the Hearst Cancer Resource Center (HCRC) at French Hospital Medical Center. Every year the Puma Swim Team has a swim meet and they give some of their proceeds to the wonderful HCRC. HCRC provides a free service in the San Luis Obispo, California community to help those going through the insidious disease of cancer. I shared my idea of having a surf contest to benefit the HCRC with Bev Kirkhart, the director of HCRC, who thought it was a great idea. Next week after surfing at Shell Beach I ran into fellow surfers, Dr. Tom Spillane and Dr. Karen Allen. I mentioned my idea about having an event to help people with cancer and they also agreed it was a great idea. A few days later my friend and surf bud, Brian Metcalf came up to me after hearing about our plan for Surfing for Hope and offered his support as well. I had wonderful supporters from the beginning.”
The first three years of Surfing for Hope program experienced great success - raising over $100,000 for HCRC. “I feel the credit goes to all the great people who loved our idea and made it happen,” advocates Voglin. Building a program like Suring for Hope is challenging, and it required the help and support of many in our community. The Surfing for Hope Foundation would like to take a moment to publicly thank all the participants who helped us get this far: The French Hospital Foundation has helped Surfing for Hope in so many ways. Carol Brown and Jenny Meyers have worked very hard to keep us on point and where vital to making this a great event possible. Michael Phares and his surf contest team are awesome and made our surf contest fun yet professional. Tom Brown for offering his web and advertising expertise. And all of our Committee members: Karen Allen MD, Vernanne Cohen, Dave Jewel, Kathy Johnson, Tim Kennedy, Bev Kirkhart, Kimberly Luker, Ane May, Brian Metcalf, Jean Osterman, Marie Salyer, Dr. Deborah Villa, and Anne Welford.
2014 is an exciting year for Surfing for Hope. In March of this year we launched a surf camp for children affected by cancer. This is a three month program which gives the kids six fun filled days at the beach where they learn to surf and get to hang out with legendary surfer's and have some fun with other children who have also been challenged by cancer. With such a great group of supporters and partners we quickly realized that Surfing for Hope was poised to become something greater than a single weekend benefit program, and it was time for us to stand on our own.
To help facilitate our growth this year Surfing for Hope will become its own official 501c3 non-profit foundation, and through our newly launched website: surfingforhope.org we can spread the word about our mission. “We appreciate and love our relationship with the French Hospital Foundation, and plan to continue our relationship, and fund great organizations like the Hearst Cancer Resource Center,” explains Voglin. “We also want to be able to stand on our own to support other avenues of need, like Stoked to Surf and other needs in our community to help people with cancer. We are surfing for a cause. To me Surfing for Hope is a tribute to the wonders of surfing. It's been very helpful in getting me through many challenges, and during my bout with cancer, it was a huge impetus in my survival.”
Despite our changes in organization our goal is, and always will be, the same: building and funding programs to help the medical world and the surfing community partner together to help people with cancer through the positivity of surfing. We are a ‘Bottom Heavy’ organization. No board members are paid financially, we have no staff, and all of our proceeds return directly supporting programs that support cancer wellness.
We give our sincere thanks to all of our supporters, volunteers, sponsors, participants who make Surfing for Hope a success. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you!