Duke’s Malibu celebrates 14th annual Big Wednesday

Duke’s celebrates 14 years of Big Wednesdays, which help raise funds for local nonprofits, and 15 years as a restaurant in Malibu.

By Homaira Shifa / Special to The Malibu Times

Duke’s Malibu will be celebrating its 14th annual ‘Big Wednesday’ finale next week, featuring music by the Roman Helmets Band.

Every year, TS Restaurants Company, which owns Duke’s, through the Legacy of Aloha Program holds the ‘Big Wednesday’ event in an effort to give back to the community and children, Duke’s Malibu General Manager Josh Morgan said.

The Legacy of Aloha program was created to help fund and support organizations in the community that strive to protect the environment and enrich the lives of the youth through education and sport, Morgan said.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds are donated to nonprofit organizations benefiting children in need,” Morgan said.

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This year Life Rolls On, TheraSurf, Surfers Healing, Safety Harbor Kids, Mauli Ola Foundation and Malibu Coast Surf Lifesaving Association will benefit from the fundraiser.

“Most of the organizations focus on helping children with special needs learn how to surf,” Morgan said.

Surf Junkie Jeff Malanca is the master of ceremonies every week; drink specials and raffle prizes are offered.

“The turnout this summer has been incredible so far,” Morgan said. “With about 150 people showing up each week.”

Active sport companies, including surf companies and skate companies, donate products that are raffled off as prizes every week. In the beginning, items such as T-shirts, hats and chains are raffled, while big-ticket items are prized during the finale.

The finale will take place in the Moana Room from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.

“Each week we build up to the finale,” Morgan said. “People can save their tickets and trade them in for the finale and increase their chances of winning.”

Prizes in the finale include surfboards, skateboards, bikes, beach cruisers and much more.

A 21-year-old young woman with special needs, who has Down syndrome and heart complications, has been attending Big Wednesday every year, Morgan said. She won a surfboard last year and has been going surfing with TheraSurf since.

“She brings so much energy,” Morgan said.

TheraSurf is one of the six non-profit organizations that will receive proceeds at the finale. It is a surfing foundation founded by Jimmy Gamboa and his wife Kim Bordenave Gamboa to help take children with special needs surfing.

Life Rolls On Foundation has an adaptive surfing program for young people with spinal cord injuries. Surfer’s Healing hosts day camps at the beach where autistic children and their families can go surfing. Safety Harbor Kids was founded in 2007 to help orphaned, fostered and homeless children in and around Los Angeles. Mauli Ola Foundation introduces surfing as a natural treatment to people with genetics disorders. They have created a specific program to get children who have cystic fibrosis out into the ocean water and experience what natural therapies can do for their lungs.

Duke’s Malibu will also be celebrating its 15th anniversary on Aug. 12 at 4 p.m. in the Moana Room.

Duke’s Malibu opened in 1996 and is located at 21150 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265.

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