The magic of surfing. I am pretty sure almost every surfer would agree that the sport of surfing has made a strong positive impact on their lives whether it be from a fitness/health point of view to a lifestyle and even spiritual perspective. Many surfers often allude to the fact that while they are surfing and riding a wave nothing in life seems to matter at that moment. While surfing they can easily forget many of life's troubles and return to the beach relaxed with a fresh, clear and unstressed mind. While this may appear trivial to many non surfers out there this form of escapism (or truly living in the moment) is what makes surfing addictive and keeps many paddling back out for just one more wave. For someone who has lived a difficult life and faced many trials and tribulations an introduction into the sport of surfing can be truly life changing. I strongly believe that this has been the case for many children who have lived at Misión México where I have spent the last six months volunteering. While Misión México is predominately a refuge for abused, abandoned and neglected children what is truly unique about the charity is that while providing a home and education for over 250 children since it's inception they also have given these children the gift of surfing with beach visits every weekend.
Misión México were the first to introduce surfing to this rarely surfed region of Mexico primarily through Alan Skuse and his sons over fifteen years ago. The power and positivity of surfing is something that I strongly relate to and is what really drew me to volunteering at the refuge in the first place as I know first-hand how life changing the sport can be. For these children who have faced tough and at times horrific pasts all of a sudden these stresses, hurts and pains seem to magically disappear during their time in the water while they focus solely on the thrill of surfing. Sure these problems may still be there when they set their feet back on the sand or perhaps still lingering in the back of their minds but for maybe one of the first times in their short lives they may have something truly positive to fall back on. Beach days at Misión México were definitely some of my favourite times while I volunteered and it was great to see children from all ages enjoying the ocean and the waves whether it be on surfboards, bodyboards of merely swimming in the sea. While surfing is awesome from a fitness point of view it is also an amazing tool to help build the self confidence, strength and character in these young people and it is great to see them develop as a person as their surfing abilities improve over time. It was always good times and fun vibes spending the day at the beach with these funny and crazy kids and no matter what the surf conditions everyone always managed to have fun. Many of the children truly love their surfing and the spirit of surfing in strong here with big wipeouts, friendly drop-ins and party waves being common place along side some impressive surfing skills. The beach days are definitely one of the highlights from my stay at Misión México and it is something I think I will always miss...well that and the amazing kids of course.[Continued Below]
Do you think you will still be charging like this when you are 64? Surfing the real fountain of youth perhaps? Photos by Pam Skuse.
In regards to the waves, while they might not be world class they can definitely be super fun on their day with fun punchy beach breaks and short rockwall point breaks. As with much of Mexico there is swell all year round, super warm water and offshore winds virtually every morning. As a volunteer you have the opportunity to surf with the older kids on Saturday mornings if you are not on shift and if you want to you can also visit the beach on your mornings and/or days off. If you can't surf do not worry as the kids will be more than happy to give you lessons and/or laugh at you while you learn. An amazing country, amazing kids and fun uncrowded waves.....what's not to love? Time to book your ticket to Mexico for some surfing and a round of volunteering? I think so!
If you are passionate about surfing and would love to do something positive while you travel then why not volunteer at children's charity Misión México and give back to the sport that you love. If you are interested in supporting or even volunteering please visit www.lovelifehope.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the volunteer program. Volunteers must be over 21 and commit to a 6-week minimum volunteering period. Please feel free to share and tag a friend.