February’s Recipient of Sayulita Life’s $5,000 Donation*: Sayulita’s Junior SUP Team

february sayulita sup donation

February’s Recipient of Sayulita Life’s $5,000 Donation*: Sayulita’s Junior SUP Team

This month’s recipient of Sayulita Life’s $5,000 donation goes towards Sayulita’s Junior SUP, (stand up paddle) team. Since its founding, the Sayulita Junior SUP team has aimed to provide a safe and fun after school, extracurricular program for local youth to participate in, and to encourage our local youth to be involved in their community through a healthy, competitive, and encouraging atmosphere, which ultimately benefits their growth and development. Sayulita Life’s donation went toward the purchase of team uniforms and other gear to support the youth when traveling to races. I speak with team treasurer and parent Heather Vavra about Sayulita Life’s contribution, and more about the background and accomplishments of the Junior SUP team. 

What did Sayulita Life’s donation go toward, and how will this benefit the Junior SUP team overall?

Sayulita life’s donation went toward sponsoring new team uniforms for all the kids, as well as purchasing new sweatshirts for traveling to races. We thank Sayulita Life for this opportunity to give the children the new equipment they need, which inspires them all to take part 100%. We are always looking for new team members, and we encourage any interested youth to sign up!

What is your role with the team?

I am a parent of one of the members (Noah Vavra) and team treasurer. The team parents are extremely supportive and involved with the team. Each parent has participated in supporting those who want to race in various events, helped to make local race days take place, and helped to ensure we have the equipment needed for all the kids to thrive in this sport.

Can you give readers some background information about Sayulita’s Junior SUP team: when it was founded, what the program does, and some things the team has accomplished?

The Junior SUP team was a program founded on Sayulita’s need for a structured, youth, community activity, inclusive to all children, no matter what socio-economic situation they come from. As incredible as Sayulita is, five years ago, there was a real lack of formal after-school programs for kids, as not every child is called to surfing, thus potentially leading to good kids making bad life choices or getting off-track for a successful future.

Javier Jimenez and his wife, Shelby Taylor, after finishing their last professional SUP racing world tour in 2015, settled in home and planted their roots in Sayulita to establish the Junior SUP team. The team started with a group of seven children, training 2 days a week after school, and grew over the first year to a roster of over 45 children training in three leveled groups, five days of the week. 

The couple was able to purchase a custom made children’s race board and paddle quiver from local donations, a sponsorship from Colegio Costa Verde, and parent support. The equipment assured that each child had the same opportunity and was included, so no child had to worry about purchasing their own expensive gear. Local businesses, such as Wakika, aided in getting professional uniforms printed, which are now given to each child for free when they join the team as part of their commitment to the program, and promise that they will follow the rules of the team and keep coming to practice. Yah Yah made T-Shirt printing happen, which was used as a fundraiser to put on great local events that showcased the children’s talents to the town of Sayulita. Needless to say, the program is a community based team to the core- and works hard to shape the bodies,  minds, and relationships of Sayulita youth, to ensure that they feel supported, confident, strong, and safe. 

The team offers training for ages 7-17, beginner fun groups, to our top elite squad that travels around the world to the industry’s top races. The elite racers have brought home 17 international medals over the last three years, making the Sayulita Junior Sup Team a well known and respected name around the world, not only here in our home town. Our children train hard, are required to maintain grades and good behavior in school, and participate in local events and fundraisers to keep the team growing and shining! Any local youth who are interested in joining are welcome to sign up. We encourage all who want to participate at any skill level.

*Since its founding in 2004, SayulitaLife.com has been dedicated to giving back to the community of Sayulita. In our 15th year as a company, Sayulita Life has created the “Giving Fund”, where we have pledged to donate $5,000 pesos EVERY MONTH to a local charity or cause. Read more at https://www.sayulitalife.com/giving-back.



*Written by: Aanya Sheikh-Taheri