SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - More than 200 surfers paddled out for a daunting day-long challenge Saturday inspired by young men in the community facing a far bigger one.
Surfers took to Mission beach, some as early as 6 a.m., for the 100 Wave Challenge. The event benefits the Boys to Men Mentoring Network (BTM), which connects fatherless teenage boys with positive role models and provides other resources that help them grow up to be good men. The challenge is BTM's primary source of funding.
Mentors work with more than 800 at-risk boys in 32 different schools, guiding them and helping them stay on the right track.
"The boys hear the men being honest and they feel safe," BTM co-founder Joe Sigurdson said. "They start talking about the choices they're making now and the prices they're paying."
"Week by week they make a new choice and week by week they start to get rid of their secrets and they start feeling better about themselves, and when they feel better, they do better," Sigurdson added.
Sixteen-year-old Isaac is the perfect example. His mentors inspired him to raise his grades from D's and F's to C's and B's and now he's paying it forward.
"I love to help fix things, so now I get to help boys too," Isaac said. "Also, when I need the help I can get it."
Present at the event were surfing legends Shaun Thompson, the first-ever World Surfing Champion and World Tour team member Damien Hogbood.
"It's an amazing organization that makes a massive difference to middle schools in the San Diego area," Thompson said.
Leading up to the annual surfathon, BTM held bi-weekly surf nights to give boys a chance to practice, as well as to connect with male mentors.
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