AWOW Athlete wearing a red dryrobe® Towel and holding a trophy with people cheering around him

Blog - A Walk On Water - Supported by dryrobe®

A Walk On Water - Supported by dryrobe®

5 minute read

We’re stoked to announce that we have partnered with the surf therapy organisation A Walk On Water (AWOW). Through the dryrobe® Warmth Project we supply dryrobe® change robes to participants and volunteers at their inspirational events.

AWOW Athlete in a red dryrobe® towel and a volunteer wearing a blue dryrobe® Advance on the beach smiling

(Photo courtesy of Kelli Hayden)

Based in the US, AWOW is a nonprofit, fully inclusive surf therapy organisation that works with children and their families with unique needs. They welcome any person facing any obstacle to ‘unlock their inner athlete’ by introducing them to the transformative power of the ocean and surfing.

Launched in 2012, the organisation was founded by a group of surfing advocates including Steven Lippman, Jason Logan, Jason Wolk, and Sean Swentek. The team has since grown, attracting board members, surf therapists, volunteers, and ambassadors who all have one thing in common - they have witnessed the joy that surfing brings to the kids involved and want more Athletes to share the life-changing experience.

AWOW Athlete riding a wave on the beach with a volunteer stood up and waving his hands

(Photo courtesy of Kelli Hayden)

A high ratio of volunteers to participants helps the Athletes make meaningful connections with their mentors and enhances the family-like feel that is imperative in creating a secure, positive experience.

By making lasting memories in the sea during surf therapy, these sessions have the potential to help Athletes in other areas of their lives by feeling an improved sense of accomplishment.

AWOW Athletes and volunteers riding waves in the sea

(Photo courtesy of Jon Viscott)

The health benefits of surf therapy have been recognised worldwide by surf therapy organisations. These benefits can include improved mental health, elevated feelings of confidence and personal wellbeing as well as enhancing social skills.

Surfer in a wheelchair wearing red dryrobe® Towel smiling with a group of friends on the beach at an AWOW event

(Photo courtesy of Oso Snell)

The families and the children who attend AWOW events share similar experiences from the surf therapy sessions and the feedback is eye-opening and highlights the importance that AWOW means to those who take part. Lisa Fraser, whose son Jeremy has attended the AWOW events, explains:

A while back, I tried to put into words how meaningful AWOW is to our family and wrote the following:

In a world that sees his disability >>> AWOW see his ability
In a world that focuses on his assumed incapabilities >>> AWOW focuses on his capabilities
In a world that highlights his weaknesses >>> AWOW respects his strengths
In a world that believes he has limitations >>> AWOW assumes no limits
In a world that doesn't value or appreciate his differences>>> AWOW embraces them
In a world that assumes incompetence >>> AWOW presumes competence
In a world that wants to separate >>> AWOW wants him included
In a world that says he "can't" >>> AWOW proves he CAN!
In a world that labels him "special" >>> AWOW calls him an athlete
In a world that tries to restrict him, >>> AWOW opens the door to freedom ...all through surf therapy.

Lisa also says that :

‘For Jeremy, there is something magical that happens in the water. He has described it as a feeling of freedom. While in the water, nobody is evaluating him, no one is staring at him, and no one is expecting anything except taking part and embracing the transformative power of the ocean. His connections with the staff and volunteers are stronger and more profound than I've ever seen outside our family. A Walk on Water has graciously given Jeremy the gift of life-impacting surf therapy, which has boosted his confidence in his abilities, which he will carry throughout his life. Through these experiences with AWOW, Jeremy now desires to be a self-advocate and a peer mentor for others with disabilities, to encourage, motivate and inspire others to fully experience all that surf therapy has to offer.’

Izzi Gomez paddling with an AWOW Athlete on a surfboard in the sea

(Photo courtesy of Oso Snell)

The AWOW family is a core part of the organisation. The events bring together participants, volunteers, and partners to experience the joys and benefits of surfing. Inspiring professional surfers also support the sessions, including dryrobe® Ambassador, Izzi Gomez who attended the AWOW Malibu event last October:

What I like most about AWOW is that they are using the ocean and surfing as a therapeutic experience for children with special needs and their families. It can be a life-changing moment in some cases and give them something to look forward to.

The benefits of AWOW are amazing. The children get to be social in a safe and uplifting environment as well as experience the transformative powers of the ocean through surfing.

A volunteer and AWOW Athlete surfing a wave together in the sea

(Photo courtesy of Oso Snell)

We’re incredibly proud to be included in the AWOW family and are excited to support their inspiring work helping children feel confident from the power of surfing. We were stoked to be involved in their events in Malibu and Ventura at the end of 2021. We provided dryrobe® change robes to the volunteers and athletes who help make the events so special.

AWOW Athletes and volunteers with their hands in the air and cheering on the beach

(Photo courtesy of Kelli Hayden)

For more information on the incredible work that they do, check out their website

Follow AWOW:

Facebook: @awalkonwater
YouTube: A Walk On Water
LinkedIn: A Walk On Water