A look of fierce concentration quickly turned into a smile as 8-year-old Emma Coleman successfully navigated a wave on her first solo ride on a surfboard. With her parents looking on nearby, she waved, holding her thumb and pinky finger outstretched in the familiar surfer greeting of ‘hang ten.’ Mom, Danielle, and dad, Tim, cheered their daughter on as she paddled back out to catch yet another wave. Nearby, a volunteer waded into the waves with their 6-year-old son, Sam, in tow on a surfboard of his own.
The Harlingen family are regular visitors to South Padre Island, making the trip from the Capital City of the Rio Grande Valley to the Island at least once a week throughout the year, Tim said. But Monday’s trip was just a little more special because it was also International Surfing Day. To celebrate, the Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter held its 10th annual kids’ surf clinic. “We’ve been trying to get into this free clinic for a couple of years, so we were really thrilled,” Danielle said.
Indeed, the event has grown in popularity every year. What began a decade ago with just a few volunteers and only about 40 kids has grown to a day-long affair where over 100 kids take to the water on longboards under the tutelage of local surfers, said Rob Nixon, president of the local Surfrider chapter.