An inspiring documentary film chronicling the healing power of surfing, “Somewhere Near Tapachula” will debut on screen at CSUSM on Tuesday, April 3 at 6 p.m. at The Clarke. Following the film, one of the featured orphans in the film, Moacir Zeledon, will be on hand to answer questions and share his experiences. Sponsored by Arts & Lectures, USUAB CAT and the Kinesiology Department, admission is free and open to the public.



Set in Tapachula, Mexico, the film focuses on the unique surfing community pioneered by Australians Pam and Alan Skuse. Ten years ago, the couple set out to volunteer at an orphanage in Mexico. Today they are still in Tapachula, running their own orphanage called Mision Mexico, and using surfing as a tool to help heal the 54 children in their care, all of whom have been either abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned.

“Surfing has become a huge part of the life of Mision Mexico,” said founder Pam Skuse. “Our surfing days are days that we all come together as a family, learning from one another and encouraging one another. Surfing is giving these kids a challenge, a challenge to better themselves. They are learning qualities like patience and perseverance. Each week they improve and little by little they are feeling satisfied with their efforts. It also provides a place of escape from their pasts that haunt them.”

Since starting Mision Mexico, more than 200 children have passed through the Skuses care. Among the children who have called the orphanage home is Zeledon. Orphaned seven years ago along with his two siblings, Zeledon has experienced firsthand the healing power surfing has had on his life, which he was first introduced to by the Skuses.

“Pam and Alan Skuse have opened my eyes to the power of the potential that we as humans have to make a difference in this world,” he said.

The oldest of the children at the orphanage, Zeledon’s life today is far from his troubled childhood living on the streets. Overcoming poverty and earning a diploma in Sports Management, he is one of Mexico’s top surfers and recognized by Surfing World magazine as one of the World’s 20 Most Interesting Surfers.

“Surfing is a big part of my life,” he said. “It has changed it for better and because of surfing, I have been able to overcome traumas from my past and grow in personal areas I didn't know I was capable of.”

“Somewhere Near Tapachula” is a story of hope and empowerment, one that transcends the surfing world.  Copies of the film will be on sale at the screening, and all proceeds will benefit Mision Mexico. A clothing donation drive for the children is also being organized. Attendees may bring new or gently used children’s and teen clothing.

For more information about “Somewhere Near Tapachula,” contact Arts & Lectures at 760-750-8889.

“Surfing has become a huge part of the life of Mision Mexico,” said founder Pam Skuse. “Our surfing days are days that we all come together as a family, learning from one another and encouraging one another. Surfing is giving these kids a challenge, a challenge to better themselves. They are learning qualities like patience and perseverance. Each week they improve and little by little they are feeling satisfied with their efforts. It also provides a place of escape from their pasts that haunt them.”