Editor’s note: Scot Cherry of WindanSea Surf Club is credited as being a founder of the WindanSea Surf Club’s Kids Day at the Beach, although he says Rob Luscomb and Jon Roseman came to him with the idea.
Here’s a portion of his story about the project that brings children from St. Vincent De Paul center to the beach for a day of surfing. On Saturday, they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the event.
In the Spring of 1985 I was in a horrific motorcycle accident, died twice on the way to the hospital, was revived both times, but slipped into a three-week long coma.
My father was chief of surgery for Scripps Memorial La Jolla at the time, and was told I wouldn’t live — but even if I did I would be a vegetable. I wouldn’t know my own name.
I survived — by the grace of God, as I have a plastic plate that replaced about one-quarter of my skull. But shortly after I was released from the hospital my brother-in-law passed away from a heart attack at the age of 29, leaving my younger sister a widow with a 3-year-old girl and four months pregnant.
I was left wondering why God had left me alive and taken him. I started searching for answers and a way to give back.
I went down to the St. Vincent De Paul in the Fall of ‘85 to help out and was told they needed a group of people to set up and/or break down for their Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas parties they have for the kids living there – I spoke to the guys in the WindanSea Surf Club and got an enthusiastic response…. And we started with that. Our hearts really went out to the kids.
In January of 1986 the then-president of the club, Rob Luscomb, and vice-president, Jon Roseman, came to me with the idea of giving the kids surf lessons. I thought it was a great idea, but Rob and Jon did most of the work on the first event as I was still a bit scrambled from the brain damage incurred in the accident… it took about a year before I could really read again.
The idea and the first event came from Rob and Jon, but I am credited with being the “founder” of the Day at the Beach Foundation because I took up the cause the second year and ran the event until the 20th Annual, in the process creating what we have today, and still oversee the events to ensure a smooth day.
The man that does all the organizational work today is Harold Reid, the new director of the Day at the Beach. …
Today, and for quite some time, about 25 percent of our volunteers come from the WindanSea Surf Club — the rest from throughout the community.
We have two physicians on hand at each and every event. Dr. Austin Hewlett – who comes down from Huntington Beach twice a year for it – and Dr. Karl Luber, from here in La Jolla and a WindanSea Surf Club member. … There were a few years of struggle, where we had no sponsors, the surf club no money, and I had to buy the food for the event myself, and rent the bus — but after a while the surf community really started stepping up to help. The more time put into it the more credibility we gained.