Joe Surf: 'The disease can't stop us from surfing'

June 15, 2011|By Joe Haakenson
  • Two boys paddle to the beach as they participate in Surfing with Diabetes event at Three Arch Bay.
Two boys paddle to the beach as they participate in Surfing… (Joe Haakenson,…)

The stereotype of a typical surfer surely has evolved from the days when the pot-smoking slacker Jeff Spicoli ordered a pizza delivered to Mr. Hand's history class in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

We can thank people like some of those featured in this space each week, guys like the Eco-Warrior James Pribram, or surf apparel businessman Dean Quinn, or Soul Surfing School operator Chris Williams, or founder Sean Collins.

The image of surfing, and those who surf, has changed for the better, and there was yet another example of why that has happened last Saturday at Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach.

The event was called Surfing with Diabetes, an all-day event put on by the PADRE (Pediatric Adolescent Diabetes Research Education) Foundation. Teenagers aged 13 to 19 diagnosed with Type 1 (insulin-dependent juvenile) diabetes were able to participate in a variety of activities, highlighted by surfing instructions from Scott Dunton, a former professional surfer who also has Type 1 diabetes.


Also part of the day were kayaking, beach games, diabetes education, raffles and simply lounging on the beach. It was PADRE's seventh annual Surfing with Diabetes event.

Ryan Martz is the program manager for PADRE and came up with the idea for the event after meeting Dunton at a diabetes summer camp when Dunton was a teenager more than seven years ago.

"He and I developed a great friendship," said Martz, 29. "He was a pro surfer, and together we wanted to make a difference. His passion was surfing, so we thought, 'Why not do a surf camp?'

"Seven years ago, we had 35 kids and we offered a day of surfing at the beach. It's grown to 75 kids participating with 45 volunteers and staff members. And we get a lot of donor support, so it's really grown."

Those donors include Obey Clothing, Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center, Rainbow Sandals, California Interior Plants, Volcom, Sanuk, XS Energy Drink, Body Glove, Best Buy, Surfco Hawaii, Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Ransom Surf Wax and Toes on the Nose.

California Interior Plants is run by the Tachovsky family, which has a home at Three Arch Bay and offers PADRE access to that private stretch of beach for the event.

Dunton comes from his home in Florida to help with the event.

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