is taking over Woodbine Beach from Friday, August 24 through Sunday, August 26.
Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz married and had children young. Izzy, a pro surfer, and his family traveled the surfing circuit. At the age of 3 their son Isaiah was diagnosed with low functioning autism. Izzy said today that at the Aloha Toronto Press Conference held at Cambridge Suites Toronto that Isaiah's symptoms started coming on around the age of two. The young boy often suffered from sensory overload. When overwhelmed Isaiah could be uncontrollable. For his father, a man who is a world class athlete having a child who wasn't 'perfect' was a struggle.
One of the before customs in the surfing world is a celebration where surfers pour a bit of their home waters into the water they will be surfing. Izzy said it's a special event and spiritual. At one of these celebrations that took place in Hawaii the young father was at the end of his rope. He threw young Isaiah into the water in anger. His son popped out of the water with a look that was rare for him, happiness. Izzy worked with Isaiah on the front of his surf board while he steered from the back. That early beginning was the start of Surfer Healing
. Today pro surfers around the world join with Izzy at special camps to expose children with autism to the world of surfing.
Izzy said that Isaiah is now a happy boy at the age of 21.
"He's unbelievable! Isaiah is happy every day, this has been an incredible year," Izzy said proudly, "He's this big brown Buddha type of kid. I am so blessed to have him in my life."
This weekend Garrett McNamara, Jeff Ekberg, Joshua Tracy, Joe McNalty and J Riddle are joining Izzy at Woodbine Beach for the first Surfer Healing camp in Toronto. While Izzy isn't overly religious he spoke about some of the men that are with him in Toronto. "I really respect those guys. They are really practicing what they preach and living a true Christian life."
One of those Izzy was referring to is J Riddle who lives in Malibu, California. During a coffee after the media event J spoke of another group that he works with, the homeless. While in Malibu homeless people are removed from the area by the police neighbouring communities have a homeless problem. Every Tuesday J is at his church helping with their homeless kitchen project. As for Surfer Healing he is a strong supporter and volunteer.
"At first I thought it would be like babysitting. We tend to perceive that the kids just don't get 'it' when it comes to surfing but they really do get it," J spoke at the media event about a friend's child with autism that he took out on his board. "After the first 3 or 4 paddles out and it was just amazing!"
Jeff Ekberg is generally on the beach with the families during camps. He's been part of the program since the beginning. "There's something about getting the kids in the water," Jeff said smiling, "I spend more time with the families. The camps give the families a day of being a normal family watching their kids surf for the first time."
Joshua Tracy has been a friend of Izzy's for most of his life. When Isiah was first surfing Joshua's father had him out in the water spotting Izzy and the younger boy. Today he works with all of the kids. "Being part of Surfer Healing has made me more tolerant and patient," Joshua said, "Plus I get to travel and have some really cool times."
Joe McNalty has known Izzy for years. This is his first year working with the camp. "It's those little moments you have with the kids in the water. It's very cool to see."
Jeff said that everyone working with the camp is connected to Izzy in the beginning in some way but at the end of the camps they walk away as a family. "At the end of each camp day everyone has their own special story that they share. We get to relive the specialness of each day all over again."
“I experienced the magic of Surfers Healing at Pacific Beach, California in 2009. That compelling moment offered a promise to Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz - to bring this incredible free camp to Toronto. I am thrilled beyond belief that (now three years later), this profound experience will happen in our own backyard. The entire weekend will celebrate traditional beach culture, surfer stoke and making a difference!” says Helen Hatzis, founder of Aloha Toronto.
“We are so grateful to Aloha Toronto for hosting this fantastic event in support of autism research at SickKids,” says Jade DeCiccio, SickKids Foundation. “Community events like Aloha Toronto make a big difference for the families who rely on SickKids and allows the hospital to continue to provide world-leading research, learning and care for children across the country.”
While the campers are enjoying the water Aloha Toronto will be hosting several events like tonight's Hawaiian luau launch party at The Balmy Beach Club. On Saturday and Sunday Aloha Toronto will feature house band The Clarizians, musicians, Hawaiian dancers and more supporting autism research at SickKids.
SickKids established The Autism Research Unit in 1998, conducting research aimed at improving outcomes and quality of life for children with autism spectrum disorders. In 2010 researchers at SickKids uncovered key changes in the DNA of people with autism. This discovery will speed up testing for autism and help to develop new treatments.
Friday, August 24, 2012
8:00pm KICK-OFF at The Balmy Beach Club – BUY YOUR TICKET HERE!
Traditional Hawaiian ceremony and award-winning Hawaiian Dance Group – Spirit of Aloha
Live entertainment, Hawaiian and California Surfers, Silent Auction, Surfer stoke
Good ol’ time for a good cause!
Saturday, August 25, 2012 (may change)
8:00am CHECK IN for all Stand Up Paddle competitors. REGISTER HERE!
9:15am SUP Competition Alarm/Start
11:00 am CHECK IN for Surfers Healing
Noon RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY and traditional Hawaiian ceremony led by Izzy Paskowitz and ‘Original six’ Hawaiians, Tiki Beer Garden now open.
12:15 The Calrizians – Aloha Toronto’s house band!
1:00 pm Surfers Healing Camp Begins
1:15 pm MEET artist David Arrigo
1:30 pm Hawaiian dance performance and presentation by award-winning Spirit of Aloha
2:15 pm MC - AWARDS presentation to SUP competitors
2:30 pm DJ
3:30 pm The Calrizians - Aloha Toronto’s house band!
4:30 pm Hawaiian dance performance and presentation by award-winning Spirit of Aloha
5:30 pm DJ
5:00 – 6:00 pm Book signing with Izzy Paskowitz (Aloha Toronto tent)
6:45 pm – THE SOUL MOTIVATORS
8:00 pm BEACH LUAU PARTY continues at Boardwalk Place – BUY YOUR TICKET HERE!
Sunday, August 26, 2012 (may change)
10:00 am Aloha Toronto Day 2 begins!
11:00 am – Pre-programmed beach music
11:30 am – MC kicks off the day with The Calrizians, book signing with Izzy Paskowitz
12:00 pm - CELEBRITY SUP challenge
12:30 pm - Hawaiian dance performance and presentation by award-winning Spirit of Aloha
1:00 pm – Surfers Healing Camp
1:30 pm – MC chats up artist David Arrigo
1:45 pm – Contest – Best ‘hula’ dancer by award-winning Spirit of Aloha
2:00 pm - The Calrizians - Aloha Toronto’s house band!
3:30 pm – DJ
4:00 pm - Hawaiian dance performance and presentation by award-winning Spirit of Aloha
5:00 pm – David Arrigo – DJ
6:00 pm – Izzy and Doc Paskowitz, Surfers Healing crew, Garrett McNamara, SickKids and Helen Hatzis