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Calling All Surf Champs


"Things of this world are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state." John Locke


Nothing in life is truly 'static'. Some things change very gradually whereas others seem to be in a constant state of change. The wind and oceans forever reshape the land even if only measured in years to millennia. In diabetes we are taught a very static approach to the self management of our condition. Like a still photograph, a single point in time blood sugar reading tells us little about the values which preceded it or where they will be traveling immediately afterwards. Biological systems are designed to adapt to change, or sudden changes in our environment. Why can't we as persons with diabetes, learn to mimic this ability through our choices and experience? To be able to do this well we need a way to collect information we can decide and act upon. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) makes this possible now. By revealing the trend of flow in blood sugar levels we now have to opportunity to take command of a system which up until now has had us at its mercy: diabetes mellitus. But the ability to take the upper hand is not completely intuitive. It takes patience, practice and a willingness to work through obstacles to truly master one's diabetes control. How long? Certainly more than 3 months as is typically viewed by traditional health care administrators as sufficient time to assess impact and cost effectiveness (ie UK policy toward coverage of CGM). More on this later. Sugar Surfing is the embodiment of taking charge of one's diabetes. But it is not for everyone. It requires the virtues of patience, consistency and resilience to attain the necessary skills and experience. Are you ready to commit to a dynamic method of diabetes self care? A philosophy which goes far beyond formulas, sliding scales and algorithms. An empowering approach which only improves and strengthens with time. If you are ready, then read Sugar Surfing or find a way to a regional workshop. Go to to locate one near you as well as links to video and social media pages.


If you can't find a workshop in your area, then take command and become a workshop organizer for your community. Many others have done this. You are not only empowering yourself but many others who will be deeply thankful for your leadership and commitment.


Sponsoring a Sugar Surfing Workshop - Tips for future Sugar Surfing Champions.

Sugar Surfing Workshops are intended to be visual, interactive, fun and most of all entertaining. Learning retention goes hand in hand with a relaxed and open mind. Workshops typically require 3 - 4 hours total (this includes a 30 minute intermission). Children and teens are invited if they are felt to be mature enough to focus on the material. However we are typically not able to offer formal child care. Families need to make arrangements to have someone attend to the kids as needed.

The model used for Sugar Surfing workshops has been to identify a volunteer local organizer (“CHAMPION”) who can select a date and time (typically Saturday morning or afternoons work best), galvanize community support through social media and other mediums, raise funds for sponsorship from vendors or other agency sponsors, locate and secure an effective venue and act as host for the workshop. This is not a JDRF or ADA sponsored program and has no ties to industry whatsoever.

We can also arrange for potential organizers to get in contact with prior successful event planners in other areas of the US. Prior event planners compiled the following list of considerations for anyone interested in becoming a local Surfing Workshop volunteer organizer. Consider the follow bulleted items as common issues to all potential workshop planners:

  • There a minimum attendance goal that needs to be met for the workshops to happen (and be worth it for all); this of course factors into the space requirements as well as marketing. Ideally 200-300 attendees are an ideal attendance size, but as few as 100 can work well too.

  • 2017 workshops will require a registration fee. The price of the event will depend on estimated costs which depends on location and costs. For example, a workshop in London costs more to put on than a workshop in Houston. Workshop underwriters and industry exhibitors also play into this equation.

  • Raising funds for sponsorships" can mean several things. Locating diabetes industry reps who have budgets to display at lay and professional meetings is what has helped support many workshops to date. It’s important to reach out for these commitments early in the planning process since a vendor’s budget for funding a booth at events is limited. Corporate and private vendors who seek out a type 1 diabetes population are the logical candidates to reach out to first.

  • In addition to securing a suitable sized venue, consideration needs to be given to audiovisual needs. These needs include as projector screen, microphone/speaker, and video projector. Dr. Ponder can often transport a projector to the venue if one is not available. The room or auditorium used needs to have a way to dim the lights or cover any large windows where sunlight might come through.

  • The goal of funding is to cover travel costs, venue and other expenses, etc. Every potential locale is different. Frugality is good as there is no budget except what is raised locally. Breaking even is the goal. Any overages in revenue are forwarded to cover shortfalls from a future workshop.

  • Sugar Surfing has been organized as a charitable foundation in Texas. We have not yet received designation as a 501c (3) federally tax exempt organization.

  • There's a time commitment for contacting, meeting, sending Sugar Surfing information letters, making follow up phone calls with multiple local or regional Diabetic Reps to secure funding.

  • Making transportation arrangements to or from airport, hotel, dinners, and venue. Dr. Ponder tries to conserve funds by trying to travel in and out on the same day or only stay overnight for one day.

  • An “effective venue” means the importance of a large visible screen, good projector system, adjustable sound system, a backup microphone, centralized location and easy parking.

  • Depending on your event there may be an added expense to cover light snacks and beverages served during breaks. Most attendees appreciate the carb count for snacks.

  • Colored flyers and advertising expenses include traveling to local doctor’s offices, or diabetes advocacy organizations willing to promote the event. We have offered booth space for any charitable diabetes group (i.e., JDRF, ADA, CarbDM, NightScout) who is willing to actively promote and advertise the event to its constituents and donors.

  • The venue should have good acoustics, preferably one without a high ceiling like school gyms or noisy industrial fans.

  • Locations can be easier to secure if not having to go through a second party approval, like a private club or school system.

  • It’s beneficial to test sound system and keys or security codes to building access BEFORE you arrive.


This list is not meant to be all inclusive as every event comes with its own share of challenges and surprises. So, do you feel like a Champion or perhaps a small committee of Champions? If so, please contact us with your interest and be sure to tell us what city you have in mind. Dr. Ponder will then contact you to discuss. Please only serious inquiries as this can be a significant time commitment and there is no way for us to discuss the details with everyone who might be interested.

Thank you for considering this call. This information will be turned into a page on but we thought that we would get this out asap. Stay tuned!

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