Surfers, lifeguards give joy to those with special abilities

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An out-of-season south shore bump in surf on Oahu arrived just in time Saturday to give dozens of children and adults with autism the ride of a lifetime.

The 5th annual Surfers Healing event at Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach aims to make a difference, one ride at a time for children with special abilities.

Executive director Zane Aikau said “they get about a half-hour to surf. We got lifeguards, we got professional surfers, a bunch of people just came out to help and assist to take them out safely.”

About 130 people age five to 35 on all levels of the autism spectrum caught rides under the watchful and often tearful eyes of those like Aikau.

“Our good friend Israel (Paskowitz) is the founder,” he said. “His kid was diagnosed with autism and he found that taking him into the water made him happy, made him calm down. He just enjoys the movement of the water, the bubbles, the ocean, and it made him relax and he was happy, so, just bring joy to these kids for the little time we have with them today.”

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