Pepperdine Student-Athletes Participate in Ride-A-Wave Event

Sept. 26, 2017

Copy by Undergraduate Intern Julianna Chan

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MALIBU, Calif. -- This past Saturday, roughly 50 Pepperdine student-athletes representing the baseball, women's basketball, cross country and track, women's soccer, swimming & diving and men's tennis teams took part in the annual "Ride-A-Wave" event at nearby Leo Carrillo State Beach.

This is the 25th anniversary of the Ride-A-Wave organization, which is a nonprofit based out of Santa Cruz, Calif. that provides a beach day for children with disabilities. Activities included face painting, arts and crafts, surfing, boogie boarding and an obstacle course. The event was sponsored by the Malibu Board Riders Club, who donated their surfing equipment for the day, including a surfboard with a chair for kids who were unable to stand.

Bri Visalli, a senior on the women's soccer team, has been recruiting Pepperdine student-athletes to volunteer at this event for the past three years. Being from Santa Cruz, Visalli has volunteered with Ride-A-Wave since she was in high school.

"It's something that's dear to my heart," said Visalli. "Seeing people who can't stand or walk surfing is amazing. We get to be a part of their first time doing these beach activities and even if they can't communicate it, you can see their joyous expressions. It's really rewarding,"

Two or three Pepperdine student-athletes were partnered with one buddy who they spent the day with, doing all of the activities and making sure they enjoyed themselves.

"I think today was amazing," said senior Lautaro Pane of the men's tennis team. "The kid who I was partnered with had a lot of fun and so did I, so I think the event was a real success for everyone involved."

Junior captain of the men's cross country and track team, Kevin Maeda, was paired with one of the kids who was wheelchair bound and shared how eye-opening the experience was.

"My buddy was in a wheelchair and it was really reaffirming for us, but also very rewarding for them to get to do things that they may not have believed to be possible," said Maeda. "Overall, it was a great experience."

"It's one of my favorite things that we do with Pepperdine Athletics," said junior swimmer Lauren Allard, who has participated in Ride-A-Wave the past two years. "It's a community that I'm really passionate about and I think that it's a great thing that we do with these kids."

The day ended with all of the kids and their buddies walking through a line of all the participants where they received a medal and goodie bags, which included gear and toys. To learn more about the Ride-A-Wave organization and how to get involved click here, or check out the Malibu Boardriders here.

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