youth

UPSTREAM - Film Premiere

UPSTREAM - Film Premiere

The events of the First Waves Johnstown program in July of 2018 imbued a sense of urgency and amplified passion for everyone in attendance.  A pollution event upstream of the program site resulted in water that was too tarnished to proceed with the paddleboarding and whitewater activities for local teens.  Students that wouldn’t otherwise have the means or opportunities to experience the river were on deck for their first paddling experiences.  Instead, they focused on the other aspect of the First Waves workshop – filmmaking.  They learned to document what they were experiencing and create a film that could influence others to take an interest in watershed conservation.  Their film, Upstream, does exactly that.

The Allegheny Front Features First Waves

The Allegheny Front Features First Waves

When it comes to reporting on environmental topics in Western Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front radio show is the frontrunner.  Naturally, we were ecstatic when digital editor, Andy Kubis, came to cover a First Waves river surfing and filmmaking workshop last July.  What she witnessed, however, was a foreboding account of why watershed protection is so vital.  As the river turned black before our eyes, there was only one thing for us to do – document the event to instill the urgency of action needed.

Surf Film Event with Patagonia Pittsburgh

Surf Film Event with Patagonia Pittsburgh

Attention Pittsburgh surfers, paddlers, water enthusiasts and adventurers - First Waves and SurfSUP Adventures will be partnering with Patagonia Pittsburgh as they host a Never Town Film Screening with professional surfer, Dan Ross, on Tuesday, October 23! There will be refreshments, food, raffles and more that will all benefit the First Waves program to engage underserved youth in river surfing, watershed conservation and filmmaking! We hope to see you all there!

2018 Ignites with Envision Blind Sports

2018 Ignites with Envision Blind Sports

With spring looming in its awkward stage, "invigorating" water temperatures, and a reclusive sun - it was up to the participants and volunteers from Envision Blind Sports to set the tone for the kick-off paddleboarding adventure of 2018! 

First Annual New River Gorge Youth SUP Race

First Annual New River Gorge Youth SUP Race

The New River Gorge Adventure SUP Race has become the epicenter of whitewater standup paddleboard racing in the Eastern US, but not because of a cash purse (there isn’t one!) or fantastical prizes. Instead, this race has ingrained itself in the hearts of a community that it has helped to grow since its inception in 2011.  This year, First Waves has partnered up with Active Southern West Virginia to bring the first Youth SUP race to the Gorge.

Breaking Waves at Mount Ararat

Breaking Waves at Mount Ararat

Nestled in the urban sprawl of Pittsburgh’s East End, The Mount Ararat Community Activity Center provides innovative programs and experiential learning to the area’s families and youth.  Earlier this summer, the Center debuted a new program for a select group of students, part of which involved teaching them to surf in whitewater rivers.  While surfing might be the last thing many think of in this landlocked region of Pittsburgh, that is exactly what Mentorship Director, Dr. Charles Howell, has brought to the Center through partnership with a local organization called, First Waves. 

FIRST WAVES FEATURED ON "PROUD PITTSBURGH"

FIRST WAVES FEATURED ON "PROUD PITTSBURGH"

WPXI’s, "Proud to be from Pittsburgh," is a program designed to highlight people who are doing good in our communities.”  SurfSUP Adventures and First Waves founder, Ian Smith, worked with Channel-11 News Anchor, Peggy Finnegan, to document a First Waves event on the Pittsburgh Riverfront for the segment earlier this year.

FIRST WAVES STRIKE USS REQUIN

FIRST WAVES STRIKE USS REQUIN

The USS Requin is a floating museum of World War II era technology along the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.  While educating and enchanting hundreds of thousands of visitors about the life and science aboard a submarine, the ship often helps divulge a more sinister story about Pittsburgh’s waterways.  

A "MONSTER" ADDITION TO FIRST WAVES PROGRAM

A "MONSTER" ADDITION TO FIRST WAVES PROGRAM

The river wave at Greenhouse Park is little more than a pile of foam during the hot month of July in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  The Stonycreek River is the tamest version of itself and instead of whitewater enthusiasts, the park attracts sunbathers, tubers, and swimmers to its shores.  What most have overlooked, however, is this wave’s potential as a training ground for the area’s youth to become river enthusiasts.  When presented in the right way, the wave can capture the attention of teenagers better than the latest X-box and carve a path for outdoor recreation and education that is widely available but pervasively ignored.  This is exactly what the First Waves Johnstown Program is able to provide to underserved youth in the area.