You might not think of the Pacific Northwest as being home to a surf community, but it is! The Pacific NW Christian Surfers started gathering over their love for Surfing and God. What started in a coffee shop in Sequim, has grown into a full fledged surf ministry. Their mission: “Bringing People to Christ through Living Water.” In this article, Pacifiic NNW Christian Surfers co-founder, George Crabb, shares the story of how it all started and where they are headed from here.
How the DCC Surf Ministry Got Its Start
Dungeness Community Church started a grass-roots surf ministry in 2018 now called “Pacific NW Christian Surfers”. It all started when Doug Young met Blake Anderberg and told him about his surfer friend, George Crabb. After meeting, Blake and George started surfing together and developed a great friendship.
One beautiful North Olympic Peninsula spring day, after a fun time surfing, the two friends, and brothers in Christ, drove home and prayed together. George shared about how he and his young friend, Kevin Craft, would surf together and talk about life. He shared how Kevin came back to a restored relationship in Christ one day in the coffee shop parking lot. While discussing this, Blake, and George both had a mutual thought of starting up a surfing ministry and they prayed about it. Shortly after that, George asked Pastor Tim Richards about this idea and Tim was all for it.
The idea-seed was planted, God watered it and it took root in good soil. We had our first meeting at that coffee shop with Nehemiah Sill, Corey Hulen, Grant Hulen, Matthias Smith, Josh King, Hubert Houle, and Jeremy Botkin where we talked and prayed about this surfing ministry vision. Over time these meetings grew, and more people joined: Gary Biondolillo, Ken Sunde and Myles Hustad.
Months later, George and Blake went surfing together out at the Elwha point. The late afternoon sun painted the waves gold, and the offshore breeze made a misty white spray on the head high waves. Out in the surf with them was a stranger named Bruce Snyder. Bruce was a tough, hardcore local surfer who rode the traditional single-fin longboard.
In the parking lot Blake said “Hi” to Bruce and we three ended up talking about the waves and about the surf ministry. That night Bruce met Josh King at a surf party. It was there that Josh told Bruce, “You need to meet George and Blake” and Bruce realized that something strange was happening because he had already met us.
Surfing at Salt Creek
The next day, Bruce surfed with Josh and George out at Salt Creek. The warm sun sparkled on the turquoise-clear water as we surfed the small waves. Bruce began to open up about his life. Josh and George just listened, and Josh started leading the conversation toward God. Bruce was realizing that God had already placed these believers and followers of Jesus, right into his path. That night, George called Bruce and shared the gospel and invited him to go to church at DCC the next morning. Bruce agreed.
The next day pastor Tim was teaching his last message in the book of John. Bruce was being touched by the Lord in his heart. The Holy Spirit was drawing Bruce to Jesus!
Sharing Jesus Over Coffee
The next day George invited Bruce to the Surf Ministry meeting at that same coffee shop. Bruce agreed to go and asked if they could meet early at the coffee shop parking lot. It was there in the parking lot that Bruce shared how God was working on him. George asked Bruce, “Can you think of any reason why you shouldn’t give your life to Jesus Christ?”
Bruce said, “No”.
George asked, “Would you like to pray with me to receive Christ into your life?”
Bruce said, “Yes”.
He prayed the prayer of repentance and to receive Jesus into his life and Bruce became a follower of Jesus Christ, born into the family of God.
Learning & Surfing as a Group
Later that summer, we had our first surf day as a group. Nehemiah Sill and George took Myles Hustad out for his first surf. Myles was hesitant at first but after catching a few waves he was stoked! Nehemiah was also super stoked at seeing Myles smile and overcome his fear of surfing. Bruce and Blake were there as well, hooting, and cheering Myles on. This was a great day because God’s joy was aflame in our hearts. We were stoked!
The very next weekend we took a group of young people out surfing at Salt Creek. This was initiated by the Hulen family and Blake. The surf day went seamless and flawless. God was in all of the details and the young men and women were touched by God’s creation and the love of the Christian surfers.
Our First Big Surf Day at Salt Creek
The weekend after that, we had a large gathering of young people for our big surf day at Salt Creek. Bruce found many local businesses to support and donate to this. Gary Biondolillo was gracious in lending us a bunch of his surf gear. Nehemiah spent long hours repairing many old wetsuits by hand. He hand-stitched them and glued the old worn-out wetsuits to squeeze a little more use out of them. Early in the morning, on the surf day, Nehemiah loaded and hauled all of Gary’s boards and wetsuits. Nehemiah then led the way in helping get everyone geared up – a hard task. He also gave the large group a class on how to surf and oversaw a group in the water. Thank you, Nehemiah!
Josh King, Matthias, Hubert, Ken Sunde, and Zane Carey all taught groups of young people in the water as well. Bruce was on the Jet Ski as lifeguard.
Jessica Hulen took many professional grade photos of the big surf day. Most of the pictures you see are attributed to her.
Blake, Bruce, and Josh did a great job leading the day and the team worked well together. We had Basque exchange students, local kids, and teens, and many more. This was another great day by the blessing of God. The living legacy of Jesus was expanded, and he was glorified.
This year we saw David Piper get involved as he has become an avid surfer himself. He has been incredibly supportive in this ministry.
Meeting Regularly & Growing as a Surf Ministry
As part of the surf ministry, we also have a group that meets every Wednesday at 6pm, in the DCC Chapel.
We have just wrapped up a lesson based on Romans 1-8, taught by Jeff Sill using Wayne Taylor’s book, “The Civil War Within”. George will be leading the group through Romans 9-11, and Blake will teach through romans 12-16. We will also be switching gears and pausing our Romans study to go through the book, “Tell Someone” by Greg Laurie, when the books arrive. We are doing this because we want to get trained up on the very mission we have of Evangelism - “Bringing people to Christ through Living Water”.
We were planning a big summer event at the bandshell at Carrie Blake Park, called “WordNW” with guest speaker Ryan Ries and many local and regional worship bands. This was cancelled this year due to Covid-19; however, we plan to pursue this to a greater extent in the summer of 2021. Mark Simpson is working with this event to support the local skateboarders.
On the first Saturday of each month, we want to start a Saturday night gathering at DCC. This will be attractive to the younger crowd, including those who are college-aged but open to all. We plan on having spaghetti dinners, music, social time, and a message.
Our team consists of great people from various churches such as: DCC, SCC, IBC and more. This is a great way to connect as one family – the family of God. After all, we are one body – the body of Christ.
Looking Forward into 2021
We are in the process of developing a website (Thank you, Grant Hulen), purchasing much needed surf gear and team building. We look forward to glorifying God in His surf ministry. Please pray for this great team!
If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, or support the ministry financially? Contact the DCC office by email or phone. Donations go toward surf gear and fund outreach events llike “Word NW.” You may donate directly to DCC and write “For the Surf Ministry.”
God bless you. We are “Stoked with hope” to work alongside of you.
Our Ministry Scripture: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” - John 7:38
Article by George Crabb, Co-Founder of the surf ministry