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Angeles County | Community News File / Malibu

Blind Children Ride the Waves With Some Help From Surfers

July 10, 1998

More than a dozen blind and visually impaired children rode the waves at Zuma Beach with the help of volunteers from a Santa Monica surf shop Thursday morning.

The children, enrolled in a youth program at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles, surfed small waves with the help of veteran surfers from the ZJ Boarding House, said institute spokesman Dan Siegle.

The surfing lesson helps build the children's confidence and allows them to "prove to themselves they can do something that maybe they thought they couldn't," Siegle said.

Some of the children, ranging from 5 to 12 years old, had never been to the beach before, program coordinator Anita Wright said. "It's awesome to watch and see their expressions" when the children are in the water, Wright said.

Mikke Pierson, a co-owner of the surf shop who has participated in the event since its inception in the late 1980s, said the event was rewarding for surfers as well.

"These kids have such a different experience to the world," Pierson said.

"I don't know how to describe it, but they just seem so brave."

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