Young surfer teaches others to surf in California

For 12-year-old AJ Iredell, surfing isn't just his passion — it's a way of life. Now, he's sharing his love of the sport as an instructor for other kids, many of whom are disabled.

The California native volunteers with "Waves of Impact," which provides free surf camps for people with disabilities and other challenges. Based in Oceanside, California, the volunteer organization believes that the "healing power of the ocean" and the "exhilaration of riding waves" helps build confidence in those who need it most. 

"After I caught my first wave all by myself, I had a feeling of accomplishment and saying I can do this," Iredell said. 

Iredell — who started surfing at just 3 years old and now competes and wins as a regional champ — loves seeing the glow on his students' faces "after they've done it." 

He said at first, the ocean might appear to be a place of fear, but the kids "are fearless." He said he loves talking to the kids and seeing what they've gone through, saying "what we take for granted is crazy."

AJ's mom and dad are his biggest cheerleaders. As one of five children in the family, AJ had to learn how to be a team player early in life.  

"I think he was able to recognize the opportunities that he was given and the people that helped him when he was little," said Laura, his mother. 

When he's not surfing his favorite break with people decades older than him before school, AJ finds time for jujitsu, snowboarding, volunteering and of course, his family. 

"It's one thing to be good at surfing, it's another thing to share it with people, " said Iredell. 

Now, he's trying to teach his younger brother, who's about to turn 2 years old, how to surf. 

"Well he's 2, he's old enough to now to surf, right?"

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