Teen surf program shreds waves on Bay Area waters


City Surf Project

The City Surf Project is a non profit program that brings inner city young people to local beaches to learn how to surf the waves for free.

Edward Ramos ‘23, Staff reporter

The City Surf Project is a local 501 (c) non profit group in the Bay Area that brings inner San Francisco kids to a community where they can see if they like surfing, be taught about the environment, and learn to better themselves and their bodies. 

City Surf Project is using surfing at places such as Pacifica and Ocean beach as an outlet for personal growth and to be the best version of oneself. 

Everything is free. The board, the wetsuit, food, and in many cases, even rides there and back from whatever schools the youth are attending are all provided. The only necessity attendees should worry about is bringing a good attitude. 

Donations from fellow or previous surfers who believe in the foundation and trust that City Surf Project will be a place where young people can move forward and grow contribute to allowing the group to provide these services. Not only does the City Surf Project introduce people to surfing and provide opportunities in the surf world, but depending on one’s involvement, opportunities outside of surfing are possible. 

The City Surf Project classroom features Bay Area beaches. (City Surf Project )

Carolina Irizzary, 18, who is now on the Board of Directors, is a prime example of that. She stated, “They are trying to push boundaries in what organizations like them could do. It’s not just about the surfing, it’s about how much you can grow in every aspect.”

Certainly, this is true as Carolina started as a student, then became an intern, then with the help of City Surf Project travelled across the country to Delaware as a professional surf instructor for the summer, and now is working a job at GoPro. 

The origins of the project show true passion as it involves Johnny Irwin, a teacher at leadership, bringing his class out to Ocean Beach to surf on a day where teachers teach students a new skill. The students loved it so much, he decided to quit his job and pursue the start of this group with his best friend Hunter Chiles. 

The passion from day one has not halted, traveling from generation to generation as Irizzary said, “It feels like a family, it is a family.”

An inspiration for Irizzary joining City Surf Project was a conversation where a member told her, “I was brought in by the right people and I stopped doing drugs, and I stopped hanging out with the bad people I was hanging out with… Surfing changed the course of what I was doing. I was brought out from darkness and now I get to teach other kids how to surf.”

City Surf Project has shown that surfing is not just a sport. It is now being used as a tool to bring people to their best selves, to provide a light inside of darkness, and to unlock the full potential of those willing to take the challenge and say “yes” not just to surfing, but to true growth.