Kelly Kingston: Share the Stoke

Every Monday Foam is shining the spotlight on those amazing women doing good in the surf community.

Role Model // Johnie Gall // 11/01/10
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Kelly on the water

Kelly Kingston

Kelly and Eliseo

One of the many lucky kids Kelly has gifted boards to!

Kelly Kingston's story begins with an old surfboard. After a posting on Craigslist advertising the used board went unanswered, Kelly realized her bad luck could be the source of someone else's great luck.

"It was the holiday season, so I decided I would list it as "free" to whoever sent me an email telling me why they thought they deserved it," Kelly says. "I got bombarded with emails. At that point I decided to see how many boards I could get so I could give away more."

That meant digging into her own wallet to purchase three more boards to gift children who would probably never get a chance to surf otherwise.

"Obviously I want kids to have them, but preferably kids whose parents cannot afford to buy them one. Some of the emails I get are real tear-jerkers and some are just people sharing their passion for the ocean. I like to pick emails from kids because I want to get more kids out there surfing."

Last year, through donations and Kelly's own search, she was able to give 20 boards to children in need over the holiday season, but her effort didn't end there.

"We go to Nicaragua every year and this year I decided to have a clothing drive and take as much stuff with me as I could to give away to the locals," Kelly says. "We also took a surfboard to donate. Our friend who lives there said he would help us locate a kid to donate the board to and a place for us to distribute the clothes. After we got there and landed, our friend told us how they had been robbed a few months back. I asked what they had lost and he said mostly clothes. At that point I knew all the extra baggage charges and packing was worth it."

On the fourth day of their trip, Kelly and her friends went to San Juan Del Sur to search for a kid who fit the bill of who they wanted to receive the board. They were told there was a young man who was kind in the water and shared the waves, a man who was constantly searching for a cheap board because he didn't have much money. With the help of some locals, Kelly went to a nearby beach in hopes that Eliseo would be outside. And as fate would have it, there he was.

"Eliseo was visibly in shock. He told us he hadn't had his own surfboard for six months and that he had been going to the beach to wait until one of his friends was done surfing to borrow a board. It was an unbelievable day for us to be able to do that for him."

This year, Kelly is hoping to expand on her idea by started a non-profit called The Share the Stoke Foundation. Her vision includes an annual four-event series at surf breaks in Florida and eventually the world, where professional surfers would give out the boards to children and give them their first lessons.

"There will also be a beach clean-up as a means to thank the beach which graciously hosts us. There will also be a concert that takes place during the event, and a surf contest where some of the more experienced kids can compete and win prizes."

But for the moment, Kelly is just hoping she can gather even more boards for this year's holiday give-away. Last year, we ran an article on Kelly and she told us that it led to some serious donations of old boards from some Foam readers! We are so proud! If you'd like to donate an old board or know someone who does, email Kelly at surfing4kids@gmail.com.

If you know someone who would make a good Foam Role Model, let us know at johnieemmagall@gmail.com.


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