Surfing fundraiser rolling into Beach

This summer, Woodbine Beach will be, like, the most radical place to visit, dude.

Helen Hatzis, far right, stands with the Aloha Toronto team during the announcement of the event at the Balmy Beach Club on June 19. PHOTO: Phil Lameira / Beach Metro News

Aloha Toronto, which will run August 24-26, is an ambitious event that hopes to raise awareness of the calming effect the water has for autistic children. It also aims to raise funds for autism research, with SickKids Foundation and Surfers Healing being the beneficiaries.

Surfers Healing was founded by Israel  and Danielle Paskowitz, who raised an autistic child, Isaiah. The couple realized that surfing had a calming effect on their son and decided to share their finding with other families with autistic children.

The Paskowitz family will attend the event at Woodbine Beach, along with legendary surfer Garrett MacNamara, who recently surfed a record-breaking 23-metre wave in Portugal.

Renowned artist David Arrigo, known for his NHL hockey mask artwork, will also be painting four surfboards to be donated to SickKids and Surfers Healing.

“I am extremely excited to be involved with Aloha Toronto,” said Arrigo. “I look forward to it.”

Event organizer Helen Hatzis, a local resident, is confident the event will become a tradition in the Beach.

“The Beach is already a popular destination throughout the GTA, and we are aiming to provide an extraordinary experience to everyone who attends,” said Hatzis.

A trip to Hawaii will also be auctioned off.

For more information about Aloha Toronto, visit

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Please go to youtube and watch Garrett MacNamara as he rides this phenomenal wave. As a skier, and an armchair surfer only, I think this fundraiser is brilliant, and well done that Garrett is attending. Hopefully we will get one of those rare beach days, with the strong south east wind that gives the Beach some ride-able surf.

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