Longtime surfer and surf coach Jay Rosene describes launching the Torpedo Kids Surf Camp as the most epic thing he’s ever done in his life.
His first camp in Dec. 2016 had six participants. The second camp, held this Family Day long weekend, saw the number of young participants balloon to l5.
“Nothing can make you happier than teaching a kid surfing and them loving it,” Rosene told the Westerly.
“For the majority of them, it was their first time in the water. That is what the camp is really all about. Just to get kids used to being in the ocean, where they can feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.”
The surf camp is a three-day commitment and involves an hour-and-a-half of instruction at the beach. Wetsuits and boards are supplied by Long Beach Surf Shop. “Usually on day one, for most of the kids that haven’t been in the program, we would just get them playing in the ocean. Maybe boogie boarding, maybe bodysurfing, that type of thing. Again, it’s not completely about surfing, it’s about being in the ocean,” Rosene said.
“Most of the kids that took the first one returned for the second one. All they wanted to do was surf from day one. Those kids got surfboards right away.”
For newbies, Rosene prefers to get them started on boogie boards or bodysurfing with handboards.
“It’s a stepping stone. It’s about comfort level. Some kids are a little nervous about the ocean. When they are laying on their boogie board in the sand and just letting the waves hit them it creates the time in which they learn to be in the ocean.”
Parents are invited to join their kids in the water and on land. Rosene said the kids are always buddied up and there is a one adult to three child ratio. He gets them warmed up for the cold sea with a daily beach run and at the end of their session, there is an extra special treat.
“We had hot tubs on the beach,” he said. “We used coolers”
The next Torpedo Kids Surf Camp launches March 13, 14, and 15. A Teen Camp is also scheduled for the following week, March 20, 21, and 22.
Registration can be done in person at the Long Beach Surf Shop or call Rosene at 250-726-5020 for more information. The cost is $115 per child.
Rosene hopes Torpedo Kids will become a mainstay of the community.
“I’ve done surf lessons for over 15 years. You need to get the kids in the water early and show them the benefits of being in the ocean and teach them about where they live. It can be such a great time for a huge group of kids or a family.”