Juan David Isaac of Mono Loco has been helping to share the stoke for 4 years now. “Stoke” in the world of surfing is a term used to describe the thrill of riding waves. The Mono Loco surf school, along with the Share the Stoke Foundation, have been helping the kids of Bocas del Toro get stoked to the tune of over 30 brand new surfboards since the fine folks of Share the Stoke have been visiting the waves of Bocas del Toro.
Share the Stoke is a non-profit organization founded by Kelly Kingston, of Florida (USA). They work with sponsors and engage in fund-raising activities to provide new surf gear to youth surfers who can’t afford it (after all, surfing is an expensive sport). Check out the various locations around the world they are involved with on their website: www.sharethestoke.org.
The non-profit first came in contact with Juan David through Mike of Azucar Surf Camp about 4 years ago. Mike was working with them previously but was out of town and unable to attend them when they came in January of 2012 so he put them in touch with Juan David, who has since been an important liaison between the foundation and the Bocas del Toro community:
“I rounded up kids that I saw surfing crappy boards and I asked local surfer friends ‘hey do you know a kid that’s ripping that deserves a new board?’”and we would give them the boards and that’s how we found the kids,” remembers Juan David. In the beginning there were times where kids were tempted to sell the brand new surf boards to tourists for a quick profit but Juan David put an end to that by having his Mono Loco surf school buy the boards back and re-donate them into the community to the youth surfers that most deserved them.
And these are no toy surf boards that are being donated. Share the Stoke works with Firewire Surfboards and are donating over 150 boards a year, many retailed at as much as $1,000; even the highly coveted Kelly Slater Firewire signature boards are making their ways to the remote islands of Bocas del Toro. Neil Christiansen, president of Give & Surf, recently commented that you don’t even see those boards on the racks of surf shops in his hometown San Diego, California (USA).
Neil and Give & Surf have been very helpful finding kids with whom the foundation can share the stoke and Mono Loco has in turn been a great support system getting the kids the boards and providing instructors for the Give & Surf program. This year they’ve collaborated on a new program where Share the Stoke has donated a few boards which will be used as motivation in school. The kids with the best attendance, grades, behavior and passion for surf will receive the boards as prizes.
The Bocas Breeze salutes Share the Stoke, Mono Loco and Give & Surf for their efforts to make youth surfing possible in Bocas and all forces united this year for the Groms Team Surf Contest at Tiger Tail on June 25th and 26th, where even more new surf boards were donated and won.
One more time: excellent initiative Juan David and Mono Loco Surf School, Neil Christiansen and Give & Surf and Kelly Kingston and all the great people of Share the Stoke. Share the Stoke Foundation accepts donations right on their website so if you are touched by their cause, put your money where your heart is. Also, if you’re ever in Bocas and leaving your board behind: leave it at Mono Loco and Juan David will make sure it gets to kid who really needs it. Stay tuned to “Surf Scene”, a column by Longboard Rob for local success stories that had a direct impact from these donations.