Surfing for a Cause: Unity 4 Orphans’ 4th Annual Wave-A-Thon

Unity 4 Orphans’ 4th annual Wave-A-Thon fundraiser in San Diego was a success thanks to 41 surfers and boogie boarders, our awesome volunteers, and our dedicated community.

On Saturday, September 30 we held our classic San Diego fundraiser, the Wave-A-Thon, for the fourth year in a row. Gathered at our usual spot at the end of Law Street in Pacific Beach under branded U4O tents, participants and volunteers enjoyed a misty morning that turned into a beautiful partly cloudy day. Founder Joe Brandi kicked off the event, exclaiming, “The surf is firing!”


Annual Surfing Fundraiser Benefits Poor Children in Nicaragua and Panama

Girl surfing

The Wave-A-Thon is always a blast for surfers and spectators alike; this year was no exception. When we unify for a shared cause we can do amazing things, and we raised just over $43,000 to benefit children in Panama with education and nutrition as well as a feeding program in a new area of Nicaragua.

I met Joe surfing in 2019 and went on my first service trip to Tijuana, which completely changed my life. The Wave-A-Thon is how I became part of U4O and it’s great to see firsthand the transformation in the children’s lives thanks to this organization.

–Nick Ospina, Advisory Board Member

San Diego Community Unites in Support of Education and Nutrition Programs

wave-a-thon group posing

Between the surfers, spectators, and volunteers, the event drew quite a crowd and fostered a shared energy in support of orphaned and vulnerable children. Beach culture runs deep in San Diego, and friends and families alike showed up to enjoy the day together.

I’m stoked to participate in the 4th Wave-A-Thon this year. It’s been really exciting to raise money for kids in Nicaragua and Panama and to see how it helps them long-term to achieve the next step in life. 

–Beth Pico, Surfer

Participants caught waves on surfboards, boogie boards, and one stand-up paddleboard, including several kids under age 10, proving you’re never too young to make a difference for children living in poverty. We’re grateful to announce that surfer Badbo Wilhoit raised the most funds via sponsors. 

U4O Volunteers and Donors Made the Fundraiser a Success

Surfer riding a wave

This event always showcases the dedication of our awesome volunteer community and we send a heartfelt thank you to each and every one who helped with setup, registration, and tear down. The positive vibes were flowing throughout the crowd on the beach and in the waves, an energy that always stays with us long after we shake off the sand and leave the beach.

I really believe in what Joe Brandi and Unity 4 Orphans are doing. I’m an advocate for the kids and empowering them to have brighter futures. Anything we can do to give them a jump start and give them a way out of the life they’re in is an amazing opportunity. We’re raising money for a good cause and I love surfing, so it’s a great combo!

–Brian Wheeler, Surfer

Special thanks to Chick-fil-A Clairemont for donating sandwiches that provided much-needed sustenance for the surfers. Paul Giret of Film for Food put together the awesome video featured here. Shout out to our talented photographers and videographers, including Shelton Bishop, Val Reynolds, Michelle Harman, and Alvin Acosta.


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