You wade into the water for the first time with a surfboard.
“Remember what I told you?” asks the instructor.
You nod and clumsily make your way onto the blue board, feeling like this might have been a very bad idea.
And you try again. And again.
And then, you get pushed onto the next wave. You pop up, and both of your feet are under you. Carefully, you stand up, flinging your arms out for balance. You’re up! You feel like you’re flying on your wave. You finally know the meaning of “stoke” and you’re going to be chasing this surfer’s high for quite a while.
It’s this feeling that Kristin Manchin wants all kids to experience. Kristin is the owner of Raising Surfers, a new online clothing and jewelry shop with a mission. They are committed to providing opportunities for kids to learn to swim and surf through sponsorships.
Kristin’s three boys – a 13 year old and 5-year old twins – surfed their way through quarantine. “It was a joy during a time when we weren’t able to talk to each other. We saw these little kids watching our kids. We wanted to do something where everybody gets at least one lesson.”
Though Raising Surfers is an online retailer, they also sell jewelry in six states plus a providence. “We are in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, Delaware, Hawaii, and British Columbia,” said Kristin.
Their only retailer in New Jersey happens to be in Ocean City – Wild Phoenix Boutique, 409 East 8th Street.
“I’m obsessed with Raising Surfers jewelry partly because of how beautiful it is but also because of the mission behind their company,” said Kim Demarco, owner of Wild Phoenix Boutique.
This mission is simple – make kids unafraid of the water and decrease the number of drownings as well as provide eco-friendly apparel to hit the water with.
“We have a long list of families that we’re hoping to provide the lessons to,” said Kristin. “We’re open to sponsoring everyone and we really just want kids to swim.”
So far, they’ve sponsored over 50 surfing lessons as well as over 10 swim programs which are six weeks long.
“We were faced with a real need for swim lessons. There’s so many kids that don’t know how to swim and fear water. We’re going to focus on that for the fall and winter months. There’s so many drownings that happen. We felt pulled to that.”
Anyone interested in being sponsored for lessons just needs to contact Raising Surfers through their website www.raisingsurfers.com or social media.
Raising Surfers stemmed from a problem Kristin was having.
“We have three boys. They were sitting on the beach and they chafe a lot. We wanted cooler options so we started making our own wetsuits. Sustainability was important to us. We also liked bright colors. Then we added jewelry to that and kind of made it more of a brand. It evolved into a jewelry company with kids swimwear,” said Kristin. “March of 2021 was our official launch date.”
Raising Surfer’s vibrant apparel and jewelry names have special meanings. “Anyone who’s been connected to the journey has gotten a piece named after them. We really wanted to collect people along the way,” Kristin said.
The clothing has names such as The Cash, a blue poncho with yellow lightning strikes with pink accents; The Aria, which is a blue long sleeve one piece swimsuit with blue, turquoise, and orange triangles; and The Laela, a pink poncho covered with suns and rainbows.
“The jewelry is really what’s moving and what’s interesting especially because it’s waterproof and tarnish free,” Kristin said. “We wanted something that would be more positive and empowering.”
Jewelry includes The Lisa necklace, a gold or silver 16” herringbone/ snake style chain, peace studs, handmade Rach studs – quartz druzy stone in an eye-popping green shade, and The Grace, a beautiful agate druzy pendant with a 14k gold-plated 26” long chain.
The name Raising Surfers holds significant meaning for Kristin.
“My dad was a surfer. My boys will have the same love that he had.”
This isn’t only a business for Kristin, but a lifestyle.
“It’s not just a business; our hearts are in it. People are generally more happy by water anyway. If we lead more people to water, we’ll have happier people.”