Surf camp

Gweneth Geil, 13, of Mapleton walks out of the surf Saturday with volunteer Tyler Hext at Bastendorff Beach. Geil was among dozens of kids who practiced catching waves during a free surf camp hosted by Coos Bay Surfrider Foundation at the beach.

COOS BAY — “There is no better feeling than when the wave hits your board,” said 13-year-old Gweneth Geil. “It’s literally the best.”

Geil was among the dozens of young adults and children who attended the Coos Bay Surfrider Foundation’s free surf camp Saturday at Bastendorff Beach.

Austin Westfall of Coos Bay catches a wave Saturday with help from instructor Patrick Bringardener during a free surf camp hosted by Coos Bay …

Lead surf instructor Alden Wolfe said the lesson over the weekend was the second one hosted by the local Surfrider chapter this year, but that he hopes to add more for the summer.

“We would like to do it once a month all through the summer,” he said. “It’s all about getting the local kids out there surfing, having fun and helping them become stewards of our waves and beaches.”

The surf camp, which featured about 30 volunteer instructors, included a step-by-step breakdown on a number of surfing techniques, equipment and gear as well as a lecture on water safety. For a warmup, kids got to stretch and do a quick yoga lesson before going into the water.

Kiana Moodui, 14, said she was very excited for the camp and had been looking forward to it since she first saw it posted on Surfrider’s Facebook page.  

Volunteers watch the action Saturday during a free surf camp hosted by Coos Bay Surfrider Foundation at Bastendorff Beach.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “I got pretty good because I stood up a lot and I rode a big wave by myself and actually stayed stood up the whole time.”

According to Wolfe, about 25 kids participated Saturday ranging from ages 6 to 18 years old. The group provided all the equipment, which included about 18 boards and a number of wetsuits some of which were provided by Waxer’s Surf Shop, he added.

“I love seeing people happy and smiling,” said Wolfe. “I hear it all the time people tell me their face hurts because of all the smiling they’re doing. So, we want to continue doing these.”

Young surfers and volunteers walk off Bastendorff Beach after a free surf camp hosted Saturday by the Coos Bay Surfrider Foundation.

In addition to hosting more free lessons up and down the coast, Wolfe said the group is also looking to start a women’s surfing camp for locals interested in learning.

“Surfing is a male dominated sport, but it’s also the first sport to pay women equally,” he said. “It’s pretty positive and we’ve got good waves in Coos Bay.”

For those interested in finding out more about the Coos Bay Surfrider Foundation or its upcoming events and lessons, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CoosBaySurfrider.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.