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Surfers kids get props from the Gudauskas brothers for landscaping business that gives back

           

A group of young San Clemente surfers weren’t being praised at San Onofre State Beach on a recent day for their skills in the ocean, but rather for what they are doing on dry land.

The four middle-school students have created a gardening business that not only gets their hands dirty, but gives back to the ocean community they hold so dear. And pro surfers and brothers Pat, Dane and Tanner Gudauskas were hosting a low-key pizza party on the sand to recognize their efforts.

Mason Heath, of Gromscapes.. (Courtesy of Dave Heath)

Brothers Mason, 11, and Evan Heath, 14, teamed up with friends Connor Bemus and Mason Hibner, both 11, to create Gromscapes, tending to lawns and landscapes in their hometown to learn the value of making money, with a portion of their earnings going to the San Clemente Lifeguard and Junior Lifeguard Foundation.

“I think it’s really cool to have the next generation just super inspired to continue to pass it forward,” said Dane Gudauskas, who not only makes a living chasing waves, but also created the nonprofit Positive Vibe Warriors with his brothers to give back to ocean-related causes. “It’s just the community mindset. These kids are just awesome examples of people looking out for each other.”

The young entrepreneurs/philanthropists grew up participating in the junior lifeguards and going to the Stoke-O-Rama community surf contests the Gudauskas brothers put on to raise money for local lifeguards and other causes.

“It’s just cool to see the cycle continuing to carry forward,” Dane Gudauskas said.

Pat Gudauskas said he could appreciate the garden landscape idea, something he and his brothers also enjoy doing when they are not in the water.

“It’s such a beautiful, artist, love-of-labor type of thing,” he said. “I think we were just really proud to see them connecting with the land and Earth and people – it’s just amazing.

“They are a rad little group. For us, it’s about staying connected. When you see something really rad, we just want to help them out in any way to empower them” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal, to make them good custodians of the community and hopefully they inspire more kids.”

The pro surfers shared the stoke with the boys when they met up last week at San Onofre, chatting about the Gromscapes business and how it got started before hitting the waves to surf.

It was last summer amid the pandemic when Dave Heath, father of the young brothers, thought, “Let’s get these guys busy, let’s get these kids doing some yards.”

So they connected with Connor Bemus’ dad, who owns Bemus Landscaping in the seaside town, to get training on how to use the equipment and important lessons on how to run a small company.

“We taught them all about business and how to finance, they learned about interest rates and we had people with a background in sales and marketing, so we gave them a quick education,” Dave Heath said.

The kids know, even if the surf is good, they have work first before play if they have a booking.

“They are motivated, it’s really fun,” Dave Heath said. “The families love it when the kids show up. It’s really cool.”

Rest assured, it’s all parent supervised.

“We don’t let them do the hedgers and stuff, the dads will jump in and help,” Dave Heath said. “But they are mowing the lawn and pulling weeds and doing all that stuff.”

With their business launched, Connor Bemus said it was an easy decision to give back to their community.

“We just like to help out charities and stuff. We just like to help others,” he said.

And about the pro surfers showing up to recognize their hard work?

“It’s sick,” he said.

The Gudauskas brothers said they know how important it is to lift up others, especially the youngsters in their hometown. They were, after all, young “groms” themselves at one point, training at T-Street and doing junior lifeguards every summer.

“Community is such a part of it for us growing up. To see the kids embody the spirit of camaraderie – not selfishness but selflessness – it’s inspiring,” Pat Gudauskas said.

The $200 the boys already donated will help this summer, especially during a year where there’s an increased need for scholarships, said Greg Hulsizer, who is on the foundation’s board.

“There’s a lot of kids who can’t afford it, especially with the pandemic and parents out of work,” he said.

And just hanging out and eating pizza with some kids making a difference in their community was cool, said Tanner Gudauskas.

“It was cool to connect and see so much pure positively coming out of the kids,” he said. “They are doing that as a group of friends, that’s what it’s emanating from. I feel like there’s something special with that energy, I’m sure they will go far with what they want to do.”

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