[Ride a Wave - Creating Special Days for Kids With Special Needs]
  In Our Memories
The following Ride a Wave volunteers and participants touched the hearts and lives of so many. Though no longer with us physically, their spirits live on in our memories.

[Volunteer - Mike Locatelli] Mike Locatelli
This picture personifies Mike. He was a strong and generous man who was happy to be in the background making sure that the kids at Ride a Wave had whatever they needed to reach or surpass their dreams. Instrumental in helping RAW get started and expand its services, he was also well respected in the surfing world having owned his own shop and managed O'Neill's for years. 

"Mike was a great influence on the Santa Cruz and surf communities," said Pat O'Neill. "The surf industry has lost a wonderful person, and we have lost a wonderful friend."

 
[Volunteer - Rich Smart] Rich Smart
Each Ride a Wave camp culminates in a joyous awards ceremony in which kids are cheered on by their peers, their families and all volunteers as each child gets a medal and bag of goodies. For years Rich worked tirelessly behind the scenes making sure that each bag was personalized with all the right stuff. We miss Rich's kind smile and huge contribution.
 
[Participant - Mikaela] Mikaela
All those at Ride a Wave who were lucky enough to know Mikaela were touched by her bravery and contagious enthusiasm for life. One recounted a memorable wipeout she once had, "Ever a fighter, Mikaela took the wipeout in stride and popped up in the foam spitting out water and sand. It was the ride of the day, and she was stoked, high-fiving everyone on the beach, life dancing in her huge blue eyes. Her rail thin body was shivering from the cold, but her beaming smile radiated the warmth of her heart. Mikaela was a surfer, standing proud and so full of life."
 
[Participant - Sophia] Sophia
Just shy of her sixth birthday, Sophia lost her 3-year battle with cancer. RAW volunteer Sheryl Loomis recounts her experience earlier that summer. "Sophia came to have a good time. We all just hung on for the ride. She knew what she wanted, and knew we'd all gratefully knock ourselves out to make sure it happened. She had the awe and enthusiasm of a child with an ancient soul glowing from within. I learned chapters that day from the book of life. Thank you Sophia."
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