In late 2007, a simple idea was presented to a small group of South Florida surfers by a member whose life and family have been touched by autism. It was to introduce children on the autism spectrum to surfing. Soon, the group began planning for the inaugural Surfers for Autism Event in Deerfield Beach.

With 3 Island Water Sports tents and 40 IWS rental boards on loan, the 1st Surfers for Autism event took place in Deerfield Beach on April 5, 2008. At that first event, 40 surfers with autism participated. Over $10,000 was raised to benefit autism associated charities. Today, Surfers for Autism takes place in 9 locations . Each events has over 300 volunteers, 200 participants and hundreds of families.  Hundred of thousands are raised each year to help families affected by autism.

This year marks 11 years in South Florida for Surfers for Autism. This year’s event will take place April 6th and 7th at the Main Lot in Deerfield Beach.

What to Expect at Surfers for Autism

At a SFA event, children on the autism spectrum join 2-4 highly skilled and trained surf instructors to carefully guide them into waves. These kids and their families are treated like rock stars. They enjoy a day filled with a range of activities. Stand up paddle boarding, live music, face-painting, games, bounce houses, fire engine tours and so much more. A catered lunch is also provided, all at no cost.

Surfer for Autism is a very special day where children with ASD interact with typical peers and wow families with their capabilities!

Friday Night, 6pm to 10pm

Enjoy the best local food trucks in South Florida and a beer and wine garden. Live music will feature Hello Elevator and Spred the Dub.

Saturday, 9am to 4pm

Join hundred of families for a fun day of surfing and paddleboarding. Also enjoy amazing raffles, fire truck painting, interactive exhibits, music and more. To register as a participant or volunteer, please click here.

Damian Richter, 14, surfs in Deerfield Beach on April 11. He was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and began surfing at 5 when his mother Tracy Bastante took him to the first Surfers for Autism fundraiser event a decade ago. The 10th annual festival will take place April 21-23 in Deerfield Beach with surfing sessions for autistic children, surf and paddle-board competitions, local bands, food trucks, family activities and surf-related vendors. (Barbara Corbellini Duarte)

Saturday Night, 6pm to 10pm

Again, enjoy the best local food trucks in South Florida, a beer and a wine garden. End the night with music from Hvy Crm, Future Presidents, Army Gideon, and Van Band.