Surf’s Up For Down Syndrome” Pairs Pros and Kids in HB
By Chris MacDonald, Writer/Photographer, HB Ambassador/The Local News Columnist
Rex and Jennifer Hudler’s “Team Up For Down Syndrome” and The Friends of the Huntington Beach City Junior Lifeguards recently hosted the second annual “Surf’s Up For Down Syndrome.” This event began with beach and surfing activities involving youths with Down Syndrome, who were assisted by surfing and baseball legends as well as Junior Lifeguards. An evening gala at the Waterfront Hilton capped the festivities.
Surfing personalities who participated, included four-time World Champion Lisa Andersen, local pro Danny Nichols, champions Jericho Poppler, David Nuuhiwa, Pt Townend, Courtney Conlogue and Timmy Turner. Many Angels Baseball greats, current and past, were also in attendance, including Jered Weaver, Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger, Mark Langston and Eddie Guardado.
“It was a real joy seeing the happiness of the kids learning to surf and those helping them in the ocean,” said Brian Cizek, CEO and inventor of the Aqua Clip. He donated 250 clips, each with a bottle of water for all attendees. “Those kids were out there in the 52-degree water and the experience gave them so much confidence. They were amazing!”
“Team Up For Down Syndrome” is a non-profit 501C-3 organization, created in honor of former Angel’s star Hudlers’ son, Cade, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome 16 years ago. Although there have been challenges, Cade has been a true gift in their lives. He has inspired them to help raise awareness on the positive contributions that individuals with Down Syndrome make in our society, while helping them reach their full potential.
The Friends of the Huntington Beach City Junior Lifeguards is the non-profit fundraising 501C-3 fundraising auxiliary of the Junior Guards. The program, celebrating its 50-year Anniversary in 2013, is designed to acquaint youth with the experience of ocean swimming and safety while exposing them to an environment that will teach courtesy, respect, discipline, sound morals, and good sportsmanship. Participants grow in physical strength, emotional maturity, citizenship, and social skills. This event provides funds for scholarships and a new surf program for youths with Down Syndrome.
Sponsoring the event were the Angels Baseball Foundation, Surf City Store, Lisa Karos and RE/Max Select One, Brewbakers, the Chantays, DeLillo Chevrolet, Don the Beachcomber, Duke’s Huntington Beach, Farmer’s & Merchants Bank, Foster Family, GJC Products, H A Covert Enterprises, HB Auto Dealers Association, Home Depot, Huntington Beach Surf School, Huntington Surf & Sport, Innocean, Island Bazaar, Jack’s Surfboards, Legends Beer, Mandic Motors, Primo Beer, Quest Software, now a part of Dell, Quiksilver Foundation, the Resort at Pelican Hill, Sandy’s Beach Grill, the Shorebreak Hotel, the Southern California Woodie Club, the Sugar Shack, UPS, Wasserman Media, the Waterfront Hilton, and Young’s Market.
I had the honor of presenting legendary Huntington Beach Artist Bill Anderson’s wonderful Sister City Painting to the Junior Lifeguards. It shows a surfer carrying both the United States and New Zealand Flags. It illustrates the friendship between the two countries. The painting is on permanent display at the Junior Lifeguard Headquarters (103 Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach).
I’d like to congratulate Dave Simcox, who’s retiring from the city after 50 years of service to the Junior Lifeguard Program, which he helped start.
Photo: Left to Right: Marine Safety Chief Kyle Lindo, HB Ambassador Chris MacDonald, Junior Lifeguard Instructor Mike Eich (holding the Bill Anderson Sister City Painting) and Coordinator Dave Simcox and Former Angels Great Rex Hudler.