17 May, 2009

Surfin' Cowell's

Samuel went for a surf at Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz today. Just north of the pier, the folks from Ride a Wave were set up and helped, I have no idea how many people with disabilities, have some fun in the sun on the waves. Their web page says, "enabling kids with special needs to experience the thrill of riding a wave, regardless of their challenges." That is their mission statement. If that isn't an awesome mission, I don't know what is.

Once we arrived there, they get folks setup with a wetsuit. They have racks of these and here you can see them helping Samuel get suited up:
Safety first; they make sure everyone has a Gath helmet. I've been bonked in the head with my board before, so this is just really good safety coverage. Shaka y'all (who taught him that? No, it wasn't me):
They help him onto this massive tandem surf board. I have no idea how long this board is, 11, 12 foot? It must be 3.4 to 4 inches thick at the middle. The guy in the hat, Dan, is who was going to surf with him today. Each participant gets 3 rides:
There was even a guy out on a board who normally uses a wheel chair. They have a board with a chair on it. This group make sure that anyone who is interested, has a chance to experience the stoke of surfing.

The group clearly has safety as their top priority second only to stoke stoke. Each surfing pair is accompanied by no less than 2 green-shirts / rescue surfers. they were never more than a few feet away at any time, even during the rides.

Here Dan and Samuel are both paddling out to the peak at Cowell's. It was small, but perfect for an event like this. The tide was up and there was small swell. They paddled to about the stairs on the cliff:
They make the turn:
Let the surfing begin:

That was actually their second wave. The first they took a wave and rode it all the way in laying on the board. Then they took that one. Dan stood up first and took hold of the life vest Samuel was wearing and helped him stand.

I took my board and wettie along too to watch from the front row, cause, well - that's what I do. When Samuel and Dan paddled back out, they made their way back twoards me. You could tell Samuel had been bitten by the surfing bug. He was stoked! He had a huge smile on his face. They paddled out a bit turned and caught the very next swell:

The riders to the right in that video are the green-shirts - the safety crew. See what I mean?

My daughter has surfed and now my son has surfed. At one time, I was never sure I would ever be able to say that sentence. To say that I have a smile ear to ear as I type this?, ya. That's an understatement.

After his 3rd ride, they broght him back to shore. I hope he helped paddle in:

I finally made it back in:

Awesome gets over used these days. I take it as a surfing term like stoked, gnarly, tubed, dude... For me, this was truly awesome. I have been surfing since I was about 15. Shall we start that for Samuel? We'll see. Dan, the fellow who surfed with Samuel came by later as we were hanging out on the beach and asked us to contact them. In cases where they may have openings, folks have to cancel etc., he said since we live nearby, we might be able to fill a slot on occasion. So, we'll definately do that.

If you are looking for an organzation that does work to lift people up, and have a few bucks to support that mission, my friend here you go. A huge thank you to the Ride a Wave group. I was excited about this before we went. Now, I'm just in awe. Wow.


Taki said...

This is great! Boy I sure miss Cowell's too. Next time, when I am back in Ca, we should all go out for surfing!

luke said...

awesome ineed. reading the last 3 posts, it really is awesome to know he's up and out and doing all these things - considering how far he's come since I first started reading this blog.