Spirit Sessions at Waikiki

Cynthia Derosier (center) founded a program to help at-risk girls. She’s shown with volunteers Ye Nguyen (left), Marvin Heskitt and Annabel Murray.

Photo by Sergio Goes

Seven years ago, Cynthia Derosier rented a surfboard from a stand in Waikiki and caught her first wave. That wave changed her life.

Now the 42-year-old freelance art director from Kailua isn’t just surfing as often as humanly possible. She’s spreading the good vibrations to at-risk teens on Oahu.

Last April, Derosier, with help from Hawaii Girls Court, started the Surfrider Spirit Sessions, a six-week program run by surfers and aimed at showing troubled teenaged girls how to live better, healthier lives through surfing.

With lessons by Waikiki beachboys, more than a dozen teens—and their social workers—caught their first waves at Canoes, a friendly break off Kuhio Beach.

They were hooked...

ARCHIVED:  Read the full article in our "Changing Direction," April 2008 issue.