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ABC 7 Write Up

Inner City Kids Participate in Ocean Safety Program

by John Gregory

PLAYA DEL REY, August 8, 2007 (KABC-TV) (KABC) --

Just a 30-minute bus ride from the inner city, for a lot of kids, the short trip is a journey to a different world.

"I like to get hit by waves," says Brooke Byrd, Surf Camper.

"I've never had a boogie board so it's fun," says Dulcia Lopez, Surf Camper.

"I like it so much we get wet and have fun," says Andy Guzman, Surf Camper.

A nonprofit program is responsible for putting smiles on the campers faces. The program is designed to give city kids the taste of the surf, sand and give them a chance to ride a wave.

"When the waves come, on the board it is hard to stand up but you get it sometimes," says David Gomez, Surf Camper.

There is a serious side to all of this fun in the sun. Instructors are not just teaching kids to enjoy the beach. They are making them aware of how dangerous and powerful the ocean can be.

"There was a need for an ocean safety program. That welcomed children that did not know how to swim because even if a child knows how to swim it doesn't mean that they are wave smart. So we have to teach them how to be ready for a wave," says Mary Setterholm, L.A. Surf Bus Director.

And what better way to deal with the wave than to ride it into shore."You get wet and you don't have to pay for it," says Steve Navarro, Surf Camper.

A day at the beach makes it easy to forget, for a little while, the rougher side of town that a lot of these kids come from.

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