A Surf Experience for Underprivileged Kids unlike Any Other

United States


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A Surf Experience for Underprivileged Kids unlike Any Other


4% funded

Campaign beneficiary:

Spread the Swell

Created By:

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Conor Dillon

Student at Notre Dame


Start Date: December 16, 2015

Help share the joys of the ocean with disadvantaged children and their families free of cost. Give them the gift of surfing.

It started with three brothers working at a surf camp who were oblivious to its cost. Working only a few hours every morning, we assumed it was relatively inexpensive. When we finally checked the price, oh were we in for a surprise.

It came together driving through roads of inland Rhode Island—a mere ten minutes from our beachfront oasis. The setting served as a direct contrast to what we’d always known. Disparate, isolated and barren, it was not the Rhode Island we associated with nurturing our free spirit and sense of exploration.

Growing up spending summers at the beach, it was our space to adventure, explore and create. It was a place where we took up surfing for the thrill of it. It has always been a locale filled with laughter and smiles. And to hear that some, who live so close, never get to experience that, was our aha moment. 

From these experiences, Spread the Swell was born with one ethos—to share the joys of surfing and the ocean for free with local underprivileged kids who couldn’t make it to the beach, who couldn’t afford to buy a surfboard. On a path, but without a real direction, we reached out to friends and family and found ourselves in a support net of fellow surfers and local businesses—spearheaded by local surf legend Peter Pan.

With Pan offering to provide us surfboards, wetsuits and a location for the camp—Narragansett Town Beach—Spread the Swell began its life as a nonprofit association working to provide a surf experience for its campers. Note the use of the word “experience.” Spread the Swell is much more than a free surf camp—starting from day one. We cover transportation expenses, beach passes and beach parking for family and friends of our campers. We don’t just offer a free week at the beach for these children, we spread the offer to their extended family and friends.

Here we have one of our campers on a wave with a picturesque backdrop. Amazing to think she learned to surf only a few days prior to taking this photo. 

Growing up, a big part of family life for us was the beach. To give these families that come from more troubled circumstances the opportunity to experience a “vacation” only miles from their homes is a treat. In fact, many parents take work off for the week in order to spend time with their children.

To interact with the parents of the kids we teach has been an unexpected treat for all involved. Their upbeat attitude and curiosity about surfing has been impactful to say the least. One father in particular, who has been with us since the start, paddles out with his son on the last day every year. It is a remarkable moment the two share. But perhaps it is even more remarkable that after losing their car the two take a forty-five minute bus ride every day to and from to be with us for the week.

At the end of the week, each camper gets a gift bag that often includes some sort of wave riding object. As you can see, these costs add up. That’s where we need your help. You’re not just buying into teaching disadvantaged kids how to surf, you’re giving them the experience of a lifetime.

Our Team

Our team is made up of three brothers and their friends, united by their love for surfing and the ocean. Most importantly, we are a group that loves to laugh. The week we put on Spread the Swell is a favorite in all of our books. And this positive energy permeates everything we do. Whether its pushing kids into waves, hanging out during break, or making the best of a rainy day on the beach. Our passion is there and this is absolutely what we love doing. In short, help us put a smile on the faces of underprivileged youth in Rhode Island. Help us to do what we do best. Help us to spread the swell.

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