Maui Families Surf to Heal in Wildfire's Wake

Aug 31, 2023

Thought Question: What activity or hobby do you turn to for comfort and distraction? How does it help you feel better?

The wildfires that swept across the Hawaiian island of Maui in August decimated the city of Lahaina. They left many families without homes and desperate for hope. It’s still too early to begin rebuilding the former. But Hawaii’s pro surfers have stepped up to provide the latter.

"Getting in the water is such a healing place for me and I know it is for everyone else," surfer Paige Alms told NPR. "What we thought we would do is just put some smiles on some faces and have a good time."

Alms and a bevy of big-name surfers planned a wave-riding extravaganza for Maui’s families on Saturday. They welcomed kids of all ages to Ho'okipa Beach on the island’s north shore. Kids enjoyed free lessons and food. Kids also had an opportunity to let the Pacific wash away their troubles, at least for an afternoon.

"It's a good distraction to get away from what's been happening," Thayane Colpas told NPR. She is a teen from Lahaina. "It's super cool, having everyone get together."

Like many, Colpas lost her surfboard in the fires. But nonprofit Boards 4 Buddies refurbishes donated surfboards. It gifted dozens of boards to the event. Families could borrow them for the afternoon. They could also keep them if they thought it would bring comfort. Many smiles shined across the beach that day. The event seems to have been a rousing success.

"Every kid I've talked to, I say, what do you miss the most?" Brit Oliphant said. Oliphant is Boards 4 Buddies’ founder. "And they miss their boards. On Maui, surfing and skateboarding is so rooted in our culture and it's kids' outlet for fun."

Photo from Unsplash courtesy of Thomas Ashlock.

A theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. The theme of the story would best be described as _______. (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. having fun at the beach with friends
b. learning about different nonprofits
c. exploring Hawaiian traditions
d. finding comfort in activities during tough times
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