Surf’s up for youth at camp


Wahine Project offers surf lessons

SOUTH COUNTY — The Wahine Project provided 20 surf camp scholarships for South Monterey County girls for the camp beginning this past Monday.

The surf campers are picked up at the McDonald’s in Soledad and Fairview Middle School in Gonzales. Monday was dubbed the most important day of the camp, when campers learn about ocean fundamentals and important safety tips.

The Wahine Project in Monterey was founded by Dionne Ybarra in 2010. The program has since served 700 girls between the ages of 7 and 17, reaching participants as far as the Philippines.

“Encouraging the girls who are struggling with overcoming fears is the best part of my job because I really know what it feels like,” Ybarra said.

Each day of the camp features a new theme and goals for the campers to reach. Fridays, or “Aloha Fridays,” are when the counselors and campers tie all the lessons together in review and show the lessons all work together to make well-rounded, safe ocean-goers.

Leading the surf campers are the staff who are fingerprinted and are certified lifesavers trained in CPR and First Aid. The staff members also undergo yearly ocean rescue training.

The camp is not just a surf camp, allowing for campers to learn boogie boarding or just learning ocean safety.

Camps are located in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Orange and San Diego counties.