Helping Hands A feature about people whose work touches our lives

  • Thursday, February 20, 2014

  • Updated Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:57 am

Photo provided



Founder and director of Surf Dreams Foundation


Native and resident of Murrells Inlet

Former deejay, event promoter for 13 years

Manager of Mellow Mushroom Restaurant

Co-director of the Atlantic Surfing Federation, South Carolina Chapter

Why did you decide to start Surf Dreams Foundation?

Being involved with Atlantic Surfing Federation, I see a lot of kids who are less fortunate.

They have the desire and drive to surf, but they don’t have proper equipment, like wet suits and surfboards.

I started by asking for donations for equipment and surfboards and it spiraled into Surf Dreams Foundation.

I decided to help out as many kids as possible with equipment, surfboards, and surf lessons.

We also organize surf trips to various East Coast surfing destinations because a lot of kids don’t get a chance to get out of our area.

It exposes them to different surf competitions.

Also, when we go out of town, we try to help in communities wherever we go, including beach sweeps, surf lessons, and helping out with events in other areas.

How do you provide local surf lessons for kids?

We partner with various surf schools along the Grand Strand, including Myrtle Beach Surf School out of Village Surf Shop in Garden City.

All of the instructors are certified and they provide instruction on the beach to teach kids about ocean safety before they go into the water.

We try to reassure parents that it is safe, and we have no problems with parents helping out.

We encourage parents, grandparents to get out there with us.

There is nothing greater, as a parent myself, than to be out surfing with my sons.

How can people get involved with Surf Dreams Foundation?

If people want to get involved, they can visit

They can send an e-mail and inquire that way.

We also have a Pay Pal button to make a donation to help us out.

Or people can donate equipment and send it to us. If they send an e-mail, we will be happy to come out and meet with them.

Can you tell me about upcoming events?

We are holding an event called Bro Am Put Put Jam at noon on March 2 at Gilligan’s Island in Garden City.

People can just show up, or visit our Facebook event page for information.

Entry forms will be at Village Surf Shop, Eternal Waves Surf Shop, or Mellow Mushroom.

We are starting Take a Kid Surfing Day in May, but there is no date set yet.

That event will allow kids to “try before you buy.”

We are hoping to get a lot of kids to come out and see if surfing is something they want to do.

If they like it, they can visit local surf shops to get a board and a wet suit.

If they don’t have the means, we will try to help them out with that.

What do you like about working at Mellow Mushroom?

It is a great atmosphere.

I get to make a difference that way by communicating with employees on a personal level.

My boss, Matt Duke, is very supportive of Surf Dreams Foundation and that gives me an opportunity to do more in the community.

He gives me some freedom to chase my dreams because he understands what we are doing.

What would you like people to know about Atlantic Surfing Federation?

It is a local non-profit surfing contest organization.

My directors, Denny and Terry Green, are also huge supporters of Surf Dreams Foundation.

We wouldn’t be able to help all the kids we help without them.

They have dedicated more than 15 years of time to help kids get into surfing.

Can you tell me about your family?

My wife, Ola, is a waitress.

I have four children.

Chance is 10 years old and attends Kensington Elementary School in Georgetown.

Anthony is 8, Gage is 5, and Angela is 4. They all attend school at St. James Elementary in Garden City.

— As told to

Clayton Stairs


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