Nonprofit humanitarian organization SurfAid International celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year with Swim 4 Humanity, a fundraising benefit being held at eight locations on the west and east coasts from March through May. One of the west coast events took place on Saturday, March 20 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Los Baños Pool in Santa Barbara, with money being raised for SurfAid’s charitable programs in Indonesia.
Elizabeth Schwartze, who helps run the SurfAid office in Encinitas, explains, “The swimmers are sponsored by their friends and family for a half-hour swim.” Participants have two categories to choose from, either a fun relay race or competitive freestyle swim. The competing swimmers receive different prizes based on donation levels. The primary fundraisers, primary fundraising teams, relay race winners, and best competitive freestyle swimmers are in the running to win top-notch prizes. SurfAid will give an Indonesian surf trip to the person who raises the most funds courtesy of World Surfaris and Joyo’s Surf Camp.
Pro surfer Will Tant describes Surf 4 Humanity as “A great way to get involved in the effort to improve global health and help the people in Indo who are affected by malaria.” Tant participated at Saturday’s event along with SurfAid ambassador and world champion U.S. swimmer Jessica Hardy. “It means a lot to be a part of an organization and an event that is really making a difference in the lives of people, especially children, who are often overlooked even though they are in one of the most beautiful surfing and swimming destinations in the world,” says Hardy.
SurfAid International founder and medical director Dr. Dave Jenkins first established the nonprofit in 2000 after a surfing trip to Sumatra in 1999. While he found the best waves of his life, he also realized that the Indonesians living on these islands were suffering from preventable disease and lacked clean water.
According to Swim 4 Humanity volunteer and SurfAid supporter Ian Cronshaw, “Dave was disturbed that Malaria had become commonplace in Indonesia. He felt he had to do something about it. Now his main concentration is to assist the people living in these far away islands with their basic overall health, clean water, hygiene, and preventing malaria.”
Jenkins explains, “Swim 4 Humanity was a great success last year raising over $60,000 and we hope to raise over $100,000 this year to support our health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and emergency preparedness programs in Indonesia.”
To get involved with SurfAid International or to register for the next event check out their website.