When Gary Marlar took a group of kids out surfing with him he realized
what a difference the sport could make in their lives. Since that time the substance abuse counselor has
been working on a surfing wellness program to help young people with substance
abuse problems. Diana Gish has more:
Even though Marlar has yet to find
financial backing for his idea, he hasn't given up on the program. For now he
and his wife Debbie and their friends continue to take a few kids out at a
time. They share their equipment, their knowledge and their passion for the
sport. Marlar talked about the joy of surfing and his desire to pass it on as
he waxed down a board at Surfer beach.
-- (Surfing 1 "I'm just real
tired ....oh no!".)
expensive, especially in Alaska
where wet suits are an absolute necessity. Marlar makes his own surf and boogie
boards. And that's another aspect of the experience that he considers healing.
-- (Surfing 2 "Once you get
into it....or anything.")
enjoys making boards for friends but not for money. He said if it were a job it
would take the fun out of the experience. One of the boards he made, the one he
was waxing down as he spoke, was for fellow counselor Josene Warnecki. On one
side of her pink surf board is a photo of the Holy Russian Orthodox church and
on the other a design of her own making.
(Surfing 3 "We'd sit on
.....blessing for all of us.")
hopes of sharing that blessing Marlar keeps looking for ways to cut expenses
and still make the surfing experience available for others.
4 "If you...and still
have the experience.")
And then there are the wet
suits. For Kodiak surfing "5-4" wetsuits are the thing. Marlar says that the
suits let a little water in but are "just right" temperature-wise. They're made
of a special material that enables surfers to move. Marlar and friends watch
for winter sales down south when other surfers switch to spring gear. The going
price for a "5-4" wetsuit is 300 dollars no matter what size. The program's
surf and boogie board supply is in good shape but its the need for the suits
that keeps Marlar hoping for some financial support.
kinds of support Debbie Marlar is there. She's a photographer, a boogie boarder
and also Gary's
wife. On an unusually bright ,sunny day in Kodiak, she sat on the beach taking
pictures and sharing stories. She watched as a 13 year old young man got his
very first taste of the surfing life.
-- (Surfing 5 "How was it.... ....fun".)