Switchfoot hits lucky "13"

  The guys in Switchfoot have done this a time or two before. Actually, they've done it a dozen times before. But that doesn't make the upcoming 13th annual Switchfoot Bro-Am any less special. As in years past, the Grammy-winning San Diego quintet will hold their surfing-based charity event/concert at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. In addition to Switchfoot, it will include performances by Lifehouse, Jamtown, and the VH1 Save The Music Foundation Youth Choir. Also featured will be the Rob Machado Bro Junior Surf Contest, the Challenged Athletes Foundation Kids' Surf Contest, and a team surf contest, in which Machado and members of Switchfoot will participate. This year, the San Diego International Airport also decided to get involved by creating a new exhibition highlighting the Bro-Am in Terminal 2. It will be there through September. They honored the annual event with a massive display that includes surfboards, guitars, artwork, photographs, and information about the event over the years. They even performed live in the terminal on Monday. PACIFC recently caught up with founding member Chad Butler to talk about it all.         PACIFIC: This year is your 13th annual. Do you have any recollections of the first one? CHAD BUTLER: I remember it specifically. We were coming back from an Australian tour. We were on the plane and had toured around the world at that point, seen all of these countries and cities, but still felt like San Diego beat all of them. You know? And we dreamed up a way to take our three favorite things - surfing, music, and our community, and get them all together to celebrate how great this special place is. We wanted to do something good to give back to local kids. Long story short: now it's been 13 years of that. It has to be fun watching it grow. It is. It's caught on and become much bigger than the initial surf contest and concert with a few hundred people on the beach. Now it's thousands and thousands. People come in from more than a dozen countries around the world and about 35 states in the U.S. People fly in from all over. It's become a really special thing. It's a celebration of the San Diego community and gives us the chance to do something bigger than ourselves. Upcoming performances The San Diego County Fair When: 8 p.m. June 21 Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar Cost: Free with Fair Admission Online: sdfair.com   Switchfoot Bro-Am When: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m  June 24 Where: Moonlight Beach, 400 B St., Encinitas Cost: Free Online: broam.org And the Bro-Am isn't your only foray into charity. This is the flag we wanted to plant in our hometown. But every tour, we look for an opportunity to shine the spotlight on organizations that are doing something incredible and use our platform to tell their story. That ranges from organizations like Habitat for Humanity - where we did a whole tour getting people involved with their story and building homes in those places where we were playing - to organizations like To Write Love on Her Arms - a non-profit that is dealing with things that people don't like to talk about that much, like depression and suicide. And especially with young people, that's something that people are not talking enough about. We want to help organizations like that, anyone that helps young people. We were given so much here in San Diego. It's been such a supportive community and it's allowed me to go surfing and play music. And those two things have certainly kept me out of trouble! They allowed me to have outlets, live a healthy life, and find my voice. And I want to look at more opportunities to give back and invest in the next generation. Seems like so far, so good. And with things like the Bro-Am, you also get to see the impact you're having first-hand. Things like raising money are important. And if you want to talk about numbers, communities coming together and raising a million dollars for Bro-Am is incredible. But I don't want to just be a guy writing a check. I want to meet the people and see the tangible results. I want to see the awareness of these organizations. A lot of them have really benefited from the visibility of the event. Our role is just to tell their story and put a spotlight on what they're already doing. When the community latches onto that, it grows exponentially. And it ends up helping kids in ways that go farther than Bro-Am. But you're right. It has to be tangible. It has to involve us talking to these kids face-to-face. And that part of Bro-Am is really special - the beneficiaries bring a bunch of kids down to take surf lessons, watch what might be their first concert up close, and eat food all day from local places donating their services. They're just loved on. It's a very special day. This year has a new, cool component as well - you're part of a new display at the airport! First time being enshrined like that? It's definitely our first time being a part of an exhibition at the San Diego Airport (laughs). But the arts program there is really strong. For a band that travels quite a bit - we're in and out of that airport every week - we've really seen it grow. As it's expanded, they've really had a special focus on the arts and showcasing different cultural aspects of San Diego. So we're honored to be a part of it, and to be recognized through Bro-Am and our band, with Rob Machado, and to have our memorabilia displayed on the wall like that. It's just a huge honor. I was just there a few days ago and took a few photos myself. It's just such a cool way for them to showcase the impact that Bro-Am has on San Diego. The people who come to Bro-Am all have different backgrounds, beliefs, and motivations. We're all coming together to love the community. And I think that's beautiful. We're glad to be a part if it.
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