The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Raises $29,000 for Children with Autism

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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel raised $29,000 for Surfers Healing through the Sixth Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction and Fourth Annual Surfing Santa Competition.

Holiday Surfboard Auction

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel raised $29,000 for Surfers Healing through the Sixth Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction and Fourth Annual Surfing Santa Competition. Surfers Healing is a foundation for autism that hosts free surf camps that introduce children with autism and their families to the therapeutic properties of surfing. Last year, Surfers Healing took more than 4,000 children surfing during surf camps held across the country from Malibu and Doheny Beach in California to Wrightsville Beach, NC and Toronto, Canada.

The concepts for the Surfboard Auction and Surfing Santa Competition were developed by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s General Manager Bruce Brainerd. Since then, the ocean front resort has raised more than $150,000 for Surfers Healing.

The Surfing Santa Competition is a one-day surf contest where competitors dress like Santa or other holiday-inspired characters and surf the waves at Salt Creek Beach. The competition is held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The Holiday Surfboard Auction kicks off that same day and runs through December 31. The collection of donated surfboards is auctioned off online and over the years has highlighted boards from well-known artists like Wyland, Art Brewer, Dana Louise Kirkpatrick, and Sage Vaughn, musicians such as Donavon and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and personal boards from surf legends including Greg Long, Andy Irons, Shawn Dollar, Laird Hamilton, Garrett McNamara and Kelly Slater, to name a few.

The auction and surf competition are both part of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Community Footprints program. Community Footprints was created to encourage leadership in volunteerism, fundraising, product donations and mentoring programs at a local level. No project is considered too large or too small. Dedicated Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen provide a wide range of support and services to their community, including fund-raising for local charities, reading to the blind, preparing and serving lunches at homeless shelters, donating books to schools and volunteering at food banks. The Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints stresses that the most important resource is not always money, but time.

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About Surfers Healing
Surfers Healing was founded by Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Like many autistic children, he often suffered from sensory overload-- simple sensations could overwhelm him. The ocean was the one place where he seemed to find respite. A former competitive surfer, Israel hit upon an idea--with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. Surfing had a profound impact on Isaiah. Izzy and Danielle decided they wanted to share this unique therapy with other autistic children. They began to host day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families could be exposed to a completely new experience of surfing.

About The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel premiered as the first luxury resort along coastal Orange County in August 1984. Today, the resort is a re-imagined surfside retreat that awakens guests’ senses with its unique ocean-front setting and remarkable service heritage. The resort is the premiere destination for travelers who desire a playful approach to Southern California luxury. The resort has been the recipient of many awards over the years, but is proud to boast earning AAA Five Diamond status for the 29th year, the longest in California. The resort offers many extraordinary luxury experiences including Raya, enoSTEAK, 180blũ, The Market Place, Bar Raya, The Spa and the Eco-Adventure Center. For more information or reservations call 800-241-3333, the hotel directly at 949-240-2000, a travel professional or visit the web site at

About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 85 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company website at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc.

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Deanne French
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