disabilities

San Diego Surf Camp Trains Surfers of All Abilities to Catch Waves

“There are many chances that you can take in your life. You can try everything. You can find yourself in many different areas,” said Ayoob Asad

NBC Universal, Inc.

A very special group of first time surfers got in the water at La Jolla Shores to learn from the locals. But they may have also taught us something about overcoming obstacles much bigger than the waves.

A local surf camp and non-profit hosted people with disabilities from all over the world Sunday. Surf Education Academy and Waves4All, both based in San Diego, and a D.C.-based nonprofit Family Health International 360 hosted around 40 people with disabilities from eight different countries.

Before the highly-motivated, first time surfers ride, they have to learn to pop up. And that might look a little different for everyone in this group.

“A handful of deaf and hard of hearing, we have visually impaired participants. We have participants that use wheel chairs regularly,” Jane Merriman with Family Health International 360 in D.C. said.

Through government funding, the organizations helped host surf lessons for the riders with disabilities, with each person selected by their respective embassy. For several weeks, they travel to different parts of the country and try new things.

“We’re here to give them their best day in the United States by taking them surfing,” said Surfing Education Academy founder Sean Brody.

Brody teaches adaptive surfing.

“Modified our equipment, modified our technique. Essentially make sure that we can have access for anybody that wants to try surfing, or to continue surfing to get out there, to have fun, to have a pathway to keep doing it," said Brody.

24 year-old Ayoob Asad from Bahrain hasn’t let scoliosis and difficulty with his legs stop him from taking on new challenges.

“The doctor was saying to my family, this guy will not live more than two years because of his condition. But I am here today,” said Asad.

Surfing is just one of many things to try on his list.

“For me, I like to imagine big. Like, one of my dreams is to get to the moon,” he added.

The coaches may have provided the tools and guidance. But these students already had the motivation and maybe a few lessons for folks without disabilities.

“There are many chances that you can take in your life. You can try everything. You can find yourself in many different areas,” said Asad.

Contact Us