All participants will take part in one 15-minute heat (no advancing). Experienced local high school and college-aged surfers are volunteering to assist participants in the water as needed. For family members observing the heats, great music and beach games make it a fun event for all.
The Surf Challenge honors local surfer and family man, Ken Whalen, who suffered a fatal stroke at the age of 48. Ken grew up surfing all the local beaches, and traveled the world to enjoy other amazing surf spots. As a distance runner and cyclist, physically challenged athletes who participated in races alongside him inspired Whalen. This led to his involvement and support for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which partners with this event, providing adaptive surf equipment for challenged surfers.
“The Ken Whalen Surf Challenge has a fantastic vibe as a family beach day, encouraging families to enjoy the beach together, and helping young people try surfing in a safe and fun environment. Ken was all about love of family, adventure, and the beach lifestyle,” says childhood friend and event co-organizer, Kevin Flynn.
Ken had a gift for helping others take on and conquer new challenges and life experiences,” says Paula Whalen, Ken’s wife and co-organizer of the event. “He would love the joy and confidence these young surfers demonstrate when participating in the Surf Challenge.”
New this year is a more festival-like atmosphere. If companies or organizations would like to reach 250-plus surf families, booths are welcome at no cost, but must be approved in advance through contacting Tony Sanfilippo: firstname.lastname@example.org. No sales of products or services are permitted, however appropriate and approved promotional items may be distributed for the benefit of families and participants.
Ken Whalen Surf Challenge
7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1
San Fernando Court, Mission Beach. Free parking Belmont Park.
Encouraged contributions of any size to Challenged Athletes Foundation, can be done on-line with registration or in person at event check-in (checks only in person at beach, no cash please) Surfboards provided for use at no charge if participants do not have their own.
Pre-registration is required on-line: www.kenwhalensurfchallenge.com. Age group: 5 to 16 years of age.