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Surfing Laguna: Life lessons in surf

Adam Mejia and Willy Hogan are two inseparable Laguna surf groms who are moving up the charts in the Southern California competitive surfing scene.

Both are regularly seen brandishing trophies and awards from surf competitions both locally and throughout the Golden State.

However, this past weekend, Adam and Willy went to a surf event and used their surf skills not to compete, but to spread some stoke to young people from Oceanside whose families struggle with homelessness.

The event was organized by a group called Stand Up for Kids and the organizers wanted to provide a day for the kids that was different, fun and possibly even a brief respite from the difficult circumstances of being homeless.


Here’s what Stand Up for Kids Director Kim Goodeve-Green said about the children surfing: “I went down to watch some of the kids surfing and just sat and cried "” yes, I know "¦ I am always crying "” as I watched their determined faces and the moment of joy that would wash over them when they attempted to stand up.

“They would fall over and then get right back on that board and do it again. The innocence of that moment is what I treasure most "¦ and the reality of their lives is what is even more meaningful, they get knocked over and they stand up again.

“The kids were beaming with the attention that was given to them, they shone so bright on Saturday, thank you for allowing us this glimpse of them being kids."

I also caught up with Adam and Willy to get their thoughts on the event.


How did the kids do in the water?

Willy: They were very excited and had a lot of energy and learned fast.

Adam: They did great for their first time and progressed the whole time.

Describe the kids’ faces when they caught a wave.

Willy: I immediately saw their face light up in excitement when they caught a wave and some were frustrated when they fell or didn’t catch the wave.

Adam: Their faces were priceless. It was so cool to see their faces light with joy and contentment.

Was it fun to use your surfing to help these kids out?

Willy: Yes, it really is, and after you start to help people out you start to get a great feeling along with blessings and want to do it more.


Adam: Yes, because it makes you feel good about what you are doing.

Did it make you think about your situation, realizing these groms don’t have much?

Adam: I realized that I should be thankful for the things I have and noticed that these kids would love to have the stuff we have.

Willy: Yes ,it did because we have a lot that they don’t have and it makes me feel like I should give up some of the things that I have.

Two more wonderful Laguna sons, learning about life and passing on the stoke.

CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at or (949) 497-5918.