Not only is the One Wave Challenge a great excuse to get out and enjoy the surf at La Jolla Shores with hundreds of other surfers, but also brings exposure to some fantastic local organizations. One, in particular, is the Boys to Men Mentoring Program, which focuses on at-risk teens and pre-teens, providing them mentors who truly show them how to pursue alternative paths.
“With The Century Club acting as the philanthropic organization, Boys to Men Mentoring ultimately operates as the beneficiary,” said Molly Bowman-Styles of Windansea Communications. “The One Wave Challenge is simply one of the best ways to expose the tremendous work that this organization is doing. Participants in the challenge pay a one-time cost at registration ($250), of which directly benefits Boys to Men. Overall, the Farmers Insurance Open is not only a major PGA tournament but also a way to crowd-source funding for these organization in numbers they may not see otherwise.”
The Boys to Men Mentoring Program has been in existence for over 20 years, and now has 17 similar chapters throughout the U.S., as well as 12 in five separate countries internationally. What began in a simple conversation between Joe Sigurdson and Ernie Hanh, who sits on the board at The Century Club, during a surf session one day, quickly gained traction as an endearingly effective program.
“What our organization does is provide these teenagers or journeymen as we like to call them, good men who can act as a sounding board,” said Joe Sigurdson, founder of the Boys to Men Mentoring Program. “These men act as consistent examples in these young men’s lives, by either exposing the mistakes or highlighting the false ways of thinking they have exhibited in the past – and how those results were affected. Once we’ve identified what it will take for these boys to become the good men that they truly to desire to be, we help them stick to these goals.”
Sigurdson feels that through their program, he has seen an interesting phenomenon, and a bit of a delightful paradox shift. Whereas one may expect a teenager with a rough upbringing to be a bit guarded and emotionally unavailable – stubbornly shunning any bright chance of a future – he has found the exact opposite.
“Typically, they are the most receptive,” said Sigurdson. “Once our mentors have established some common ground with these young men, it is amazing how receptive they are to the program. The mentors are able to relate to them from personal experience, set goals for their future, and even admonish them for failing to do what they set out to do. Where one would think this would scare the boys away, it honestly brings them back. Having someone who is genuinely concerned ultimately proves a great difference in their lives.”
That groundbreaking conversation between Sigurdson and Hanh led to the creation of last year’s One Wave challenge, in which they came just short of the world record for most surfers (110) on a five-second wave. This year, they have discovered new ways to regulate and document the confirmation of breaking the world record, which was set in South Africa, to present to those necessary at the Guinness Book of World Records.
This year, they have been sure to enlist the help of only skilled surfers, of whom will be using “soft top” surfboards as to prevent injury. Since there will be minimal room between each surfer, this seems to be a much better idea than allowing fiberglass or plastic boards.
Not only will Boys to Men be conducting the One Wave Challenge, but also will include an adventure run for those who desire to remain active on land. The 5-mile run will begin at the La Jolla Shores, past Scripps pier and to the Torrey Pines Glider Port and back. Groups of runners will stagger-start, which will also be coordinated with the start of the One Wave Challenge. As the runners return, the surfers should be exiting the water as well. Then, there will be plenty of food, a DJ, and quite the celebration.