On September 21st, at 4:00 am, more than a dozen of Degree 33’s 100 Wave Warriors slowly rolled out of bed and into the most exciting, dare we say, most frothed over, day of the year! An hour later, well over 100 of us descended on Mission Beach, hitting the sand as the horizon behind us began to glow a deep purple, the moon backlighting racey, offshore peelers. A group of us huddled in a circle, reflecting on gratitude, thanking the powers that be for an opportunity to be useful to our community. We recalled our intentions, to celebrate achievement, brotherhood, and to celebrate making a difference in the fate of San Diego’s youth!
As our feet hit the water, hoots and hollers began to ricochet through the lineup as we all took turns dropping into perfect waves, absolutely STOKED to get to surf with purpose. So maybe you’re reading this, wondering, “Yeah, I surf guys, but what is this 100 Wave Challenge you speak of?”
10 years ago, our dear friends Joe Sigurdson and Craig McClain were looking for new ways to raise money for their mentoring program, The Boys To Men Mentoring Network. Boys to Men is a lunchtime and after-school program for at-risk young men (and a few young women) facilitated by adult male mentors in Junior Highs and High Schools throughout San Diego. The program has been running for over 30 years here in San Diego, and has grown to over 1000 enrolled male youths. It has been Joe’s dream, to surf for this cause, to gather other surfers, to show young men that we can get a rush and be hardcore in healthy ways, by surfing 100 waves, a benchmark thought impossible to reach a decade ago.
So how’d we do?
For most of us, it took over 6 hours to complete the challenge, stopping every dozen or so waves to enjoy the tasty grub graciously provided by 100 Wave’s awesome sponsors.
As a tribe of 100 Wave warriors, we raised over $400,000 for Boys to Men Mentoring. That’s nearly half of the currently enrolled young men paid for in full for the entire year! We CRUSHED IT!
As a team, Degree 33 Surfboards raised over $38,000, a new record for us in our 7th year participating in the 100 Wave Challenge. We’re a competitive bunch, so each year we gun for a taller target, so far, surpassing the goal just in the nick of time every event! We’re setting a new bar for next year… $45,000…… That’s 45 fully paid kids for an entire year! We could use your help to reach that goal. There are many ways to get involved.
So why do we do it?
As fun and exciting as it is to surf with 100 of our buddies, The 100 Wave Challenge and Boys to Men Mentoring Network is trying to correct a serious problem that’s even larger than just country-wide. Misguided young men account for nearly 90% of our Country’s inmate population.
We’re fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and nephews. Some of us have been blessed to have good fathers in our lives, while some of our fellow 100 Wave Challengers come from rough backgrounds and have fought harder than most of us to stay on the good path.
These kids are the ones that fall through the cracks, and we’re picking them up by reaching out our hand and letting them know that it’s ok to fall down, that we’ll be here to help them get back up and dust themselves off. We’re a group of men unafraid to act with our hearts and love these young men that want a better life than the one handed to them. That’s why we do it.
We’re choosing to be a part of the solution, supporting these kids and the mentors that volunteer their time to guide them. In the almost 30 years that Boys To Men Mentoring has been established in San Diego, the statistics of success have continued to stack up to say “This frickin’ works!”
This community mentoring approach is drawing high praise from school principals, administrators and teachers for its documented ability to improve the academic performance, attendance and attitude, and reduce discipline issues, expulsion and dropout rates, of their most at-risk boys.
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate manhood as surfers, than to raise funding for betting the lives of young men, then surfing 100 waves with each other to prove what it means to be badass, a positive impact on our society, and what surf heritage is all about. Brotherly love is the message, and you can help us spread it!
Last week we rallied together at Bird’s Surf Shed to reflect on this year’s event and highlight all the successes, not just with the 100 Wave Challenge, but with Boys to Men Mentoring Network and how impactful the program truly is! Several alumni in attendance gave their testimony. Boys to Men creates good students, graduates, and most of all, turns good kids into great young men. At the end of the BBQ and awards ceremony, we could all grin and hoot at a solid job well done!
Here we are, the chafe wearing off, wax rash fading, muscles recovered, sunburns having turned a rosy bronze, and a cheeky grin to share with all of our brothers who dedicated some extra time this summer to be a part of something truly special, celebrating our fundraising by challenging each other to 100 Waves… Another epic 100 waves in the books!
To join us for the 11th annual 100 Wave Challenge, learn more about the event Boys to Men Mentoring Network, or would like to volunteer or mentor, here are the details!
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