Startup nonprofit to make waves
ACCESSurf Hawaii Inc., a nonprofit organization founded earlier this year, will be the envy of many other dot-orgs as the winner of this year's Ad 2 Honolulu pro-bono marketing campaign.
AccesSurf Hawaii's mission is to provide people with disabilities a connection, or a reconnection to the ocean, through three types of adaptive surfboards and other aquatic equipment.
"The whole concept is not just about surfing, it's getting the ohana and the people that have injuries back to the beach," said Mark Marble, founder and president.
Marble is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at Shriners Hospital for Children and has worked with people with disabilities for more than 18 years, he said.
He was involved in other outdoor activities using adaptive equipment on the mainland, until he moved to Hawaii in 2003.
"It was real apparent to me ... that Hawaiians' connection to the ocean is a staple, it's their lives," Marble said.
"There's such a great need to provide outdoor opportunities for people with disabilities and because it's the surfing capital of the world ... it was just like, so apparent. I felt really called."
As a member of the Mayor's Advisory Council on Accessibility, Marble has been involved in the city's placement of mats for beaches allowing wheelchair access to the water at three Oahu beach parks, including Ala Moana, Sans Souci and Kailua.
Also a surfer, Marble met Rich Julian, a local resident who learned adaptive surfing in California and brought home specialized gear.
The two were brainstorming and decided, "let's make an impact that's going to go beyond the next 50 years," Marble said.
ACCESSURF HAWAII INC.
AccesSurf Hawaii Inc. Vice President Rich Julian sits next to one of the organization's adaptive surfboards, one of three types the group has available.
Julian became vice president of AccesSurf Hawaii, which also offers a huli-proof, double-outrigger kayak and life vests that allow people with different types of disabilities to enjoy the water.
The organization is training for its signature "Day at the Beach" activities the first Saturday of each month. The first, large-scale event is planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 2 at White Plains Beach.
It also has been staging small fundraisers, such as the one planned for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Wahoo's Fish Taco on Ward Avenue. Tickets, at $20, are available by contacting AccesSurf online.
Ad 2 Public Service Committee co-chairwoman Goldyn Zimetbaum has worked on the campaign before, but had not yet experienced the challenge of choosing a winner. There were more than 60 applicants.
"You can't even imagine how difficult it was, there are so many great organizations to choose from," she said.
What did it was that AccesSurf Hawaii is a startup "that can really benefit. They don't have anything right now," and "it is so island-specific," Zimetbaum said.
"Living here, surrounded by the water, can you imagine not even being able to go into the water?"
Zimetbaum and co-chairman George Zamarripa have a big load on their shoulders as campaigns by four of five preceding Ad 2 teams have won the national public service award at the American Advertising Federation's annual conference.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com