Flagler County

Surfers For Autism 7th Annual Flagler Beach Coast Festival

The Surfers For Autism organization hosts around 16 beach festivals each year spanning all the way from Australia to the coasts of Florida. These events provide an opportunity for kids with developmental delays to go out in the water and have an experience they will never forget. This also gives other children and teens a chance to help out in a fun and self rewarding way.

On Saturday, August 20th, the Surfers For Autism organization held their 7th annual First Coast Beach Festival at Flagler Beach. If you attended you would have found live music, free lunch, and fun all along the beach. You would also find a large group of pirates who call themselves the Pirateers of Palm Coast. This is an organization that supports events worthwhile to the community. The Pirateers helped set up booths and tents with different games and activities, but most importantly presented a check worth $1,257.00 to the Surfers For Autism organization. Large donations such as these are what makes these events possible. Don Ryan, the founder of the Surfers For Autism organization states, “It takes a lot of money to produce these events and to travel. We’re not raising funds, or awareness, or anything. This is a completely free event; the resources sought after. I think we just fed 1,600 people for free pretty much, so that’s kinda cool.” All of their corporate sponsors help keep this organization moving forward from one place to another.

Ryan states, “My inspiration was, I’m conscious- if you get it- too many people aren’t. My wife and I, and many of our friends are touched by autism throughout our families. And we decided that ten years ago, ‘Why don’t we do something a little out of the norm that they would never get.’ Throw a little beach party, take them to the ocean, get some pizza, play some music, and we did.”

True ingenuity and the ability to leave your life behind in order to create an association such as this, is exactly what the founders of Surfers For Autism have done. The next time one of these events rolls around, be sure to volunteer for a great cause. To learn more, visit their website here.