When we first meet 13-year-old Eithan Osborne, he’s getting ready to paddle out for a heat where he’ll drop 8.5s and 9.0s like it ain’t no thang. But while the surfing world is eager to label him “the next Dane Reynolds,” Osborne has a different plan.
Armed with nothing but a surfboard, Osborne is mobilizing other groms to donate surfboards, surf supplies, and clothing to the nonprofit Foam for Families.
“Foam for Families is awesome because it’s a group of surfers traveling to parts of the world with the best waves but also often the poorest parts of the world. So, they score perfect waves and help children in need,” Osborne said. “They help the kids be stoked on surfing and give them the means to do it. They bring boards, leashes, wax, ding-repair kits, and teach them everything about surfing.”
As an ambassador for Foam for Families, Osborne is reaching out to the surf community and asking other youth to help. Even the NSSA and Surfing America Prime are on board; Foam for Families will have a booth at both organizations’ nationals events to collect donations from participants.
Although he’s still not old enough to vote or drive, Osborne is already living the mantra “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This summer, Osborne will travel to an orphanage in Bali to take part in his first trip with Foam for Families.
“I can’t wait,” Osborne said.
What is Foam for Families?
Surfers Matthew Smith and Chad Compton of Ventura, California, started Foam for Families earlier this year. After traveling to Nicaragua on a surf trip, Smith realized that the local youth had the desire to surf but lacked equipment and supplies.
Inspired by a local grom named Chinto, who kept repairing the same old surfboard, Smith envisioned a future where the local kids had access to surfboards and could develop skills that would eventually create new jobs in the community.
Back in California, Smith and Compton gathered donations of surfboards, pads, leashes, wax, and ding-repair supplies and planned a return trip to the town of Aserradores, Nicaragua. The two surfers spent several weeks in Aserradores, teaching the local youth how to surf and repair surfboards and establishing a local surf center where the boards are kept.
Today, Foam for Families is planning to expand to Indonesia and South America. The nonprofit continues to be involved in its pilot program in Aserradores.
“In many developing countries, a lot of the costal properties are being bought up by foreign investors,” explained Smith, adding, “The locals are being taken advantage of, but surf tourism and surfing offer a solution.”
By empowering communities through shared access to surfboards and surf supplies, Smith said he hopes to create new opportunities for the next generation.
To learn more about Foam for Families or to get involved, visit www.foamforfamilies.org.