Maui boy uses surfing as form of escape

Clay Marzo
Clay Marzo

By Jason Tang - bio | email

MAGIC ISLAND (KHNL) - Andy Irons calls him the best 19 year old surfer in the world. But for Maui boy Clay Marzo, he's not surfing for the fame, it's completely the opposite.

"Just the feeling to get off the social side of everyone, just go surf and free your mind," said Marzo.

Marzo means that literally. In December of 2007 he was diagnosed With Asperger's Syndrome, the mildest and highest functioning form of autism.

"There's a few problems yeah."

His doctors say though he may seem normal, he has difficulty with social interactions. Surfing is his form of escape.

"You don't suffer from Asberger's you suffer from other people," said Dr. Tony Attwood, an Asperger's syndrome expert

Having asperger's means Marzo's sensory levels are very high, and he can get rattled in unfamiliar social situations.

But he's learning to get out of his comfort zone, even though he doesn't always want to.

"I guess it's part of the job, but it'd be great to just stay home and surf."

Marzo hopes his success in battling autism will raise awareness and inspire others.

On Friday a movie, "Just Add Water", which features Marzo and tells his story, will be released.

"It's a trip you know, it's cool I guess, I always like to show people my movies, hopefully they like them."

And Clay is thankful for everyone's support.

"It's nice to get support, and it feels good that people are supporting and backing your passion, I just want to surf my whole life you know?"

Clay's movie will premiere on Maui on Friday, and Sunday on the Big Island. After that it will be available on DVD October 1st.

All proceeds from the movie go to "surfers healing" an organization dedicated to autism awareness.