'Surfer's Way' Gives Kids With Autism A Day Of Fun On Long Island And For Some Parents An Opportunity To Sit Back And Relax

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The surf was up Wednesday for some kids on Long Island. An outing was held for special needs children.

And as CBS2’s Alice Gainer found out, they took to the waves like pros.

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If any of the first-time surfers were nervous about hitting the waves, they didn’t show it.

“These kids don’t get too much time to have complete freedom and what we do is we give them complete freedom,” said Elliot Zuckerman, the founder of “Surfer’s Way.”

The non-profit organization held a free outing on Riverside Beach in Long Beach to give children with special needs the chance to surf. Zuckerman said the majority of the kids are autistic.

A non-profit organization held a day of surfing for special needs kids on July 10, 2019. (Photo: CBS2)

“We make these kids smile. We make their parents smile. Actually, we mak the parents cry all the time because when they see their kids surfing for the first time they’re completely blown away,” Zuckerman said.

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Nick Clark’s daughter, Brianna, was out there Wednesday.

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“They love to do things normal kids do and it’s nice to have a staff and surfers and instructors that really care about the kids,” said Clark, who lives in West Babylon. “It was tough for her to get in the water, but then once she got in the water she was amazing and she loved it and she wants more.”

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Instructors said the event was also a nice way to give the parents a day off.

“We want the parents to sit down, have a little bagel, a little schmear, a little lunch,” Zuckerman said.

“To be able to relieve the parents just for one day and take the kids out and have fun with them and get them excited and get them to stand up on a wave, it’s amazing. It gives us a thrill,” Kevin MacDonald said.

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For the volunteers, they said they may even get more out of it than the kids.

“It’s kind of like one big family. That’s what we are. We’re one big family,” Zuckerman said.

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The next outing will be held on Aug. 7.