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DANA POINT, Calif. – January 20, 2014 – The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel raised $29,000 for Surfers Healing through the Sixth Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction and Fourth Annual Surfing Santa Competition. Surfers Healing is a foundation for autism that hosts free surf camps that introduce children with autism and their families to the therapeutic properties of surfing. Last year, Surfers Healing took more than 4,000 children surfing during surf camps held across the country from Malibu and Doheny Beach in California to Wrightsville Beach, NC and Toronto, Canada.

The concepts for the Surfboard Auction and Surfing Santa Competition were developed by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s General Manager Bruce Brainerd. Since then, the ocean front resort has raised more than $150,000 for Surfers Healing.

The Surfing Santa Competition is a one-day surf contest where competitors dress like Santa or other holiday-inspired characters and surf the waves at Salt Creek Beach. The competition is held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The Holiday Surfboard Auction kicks off that same day and runs through December 31. The collection of donated surfboards is auctioned off online and over the years has highlighted boards from well-known artists like Wyland, Art Brewer, Dana Louise Kirkpatrick, and Sage Vaughn, musicians such as Donavon and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and personal boards from surf legends including Greg Long, Andy Irons, Shawn Dollar, Laird Hamilton, Garrett McNamara and Kelly Slater, to name a few.

The auction and surf competition are both part of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Community Footprints program. Community Footprints was created to encourage leadership in volunteerism, fundraising, product donations and mentoring programs at a local level. No project is considered too large or too small. Dedicated Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen provide a wide range of support and services to their community, including fund-raising for local charities, reading to the blind, preparing and serving lunches at homeless shelters, donating books to schools and volunteering at food banks. The Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints stresses that the most important resource is not always money, but time.