City Surf Project Is Popular With San Francisco Students

Matt Bigler
January 28, 2019 - 3:46 pm

SAN FRANCISCO — This may be the coolest P.E. class ever. A San Francisco nonprofit is helping hundreds of teens get out of school and into the waves for their first lesson on surfing. 

Although surfing is popular up and down the coast, it's still an activity that's out of reach and unfamiliar to many young people. 

Just getting into a wetsuit was a tough challenge for Abigail Sanchez, a Mission High School student who was part of a small group that recently took an introductory class from City Surf Project at Crissy Field. 

"It's like sausage casing," Abigail said to KCBS Radio. "It's really hard to put on." Still, she said she was excited about learning a pastime that forces her to unplug from social media. 

"I just really don't the extra stress on my mind with school and family and everything," she said. "I just thought this would be a good opportunity to not focus on that."

Since launching in 2015, City Surf Project says that it has helped 1,500 kids get their feet wet. 

They intentionally target schools with underrepresented youth,  because surfing itself has been homogenous, said City Surf Project Executive Director Johnny Irwin.

"Out here in the ocean and surfing what you mainly see is white males of an upper class," said Irwin. "That's just pretty much predominant of coastline beach cities, because of how expensive it is and the issues to access."