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Adaptive Surfing

WOW! What an incredible weekend this was. Let me back up a little. About 3 months ago I got a call from my good friend Dave Patterson. Dave is an avid and talented wakeboarder that is now in Huston, Texas doing his rounds working with Prosthetics. He said he wanted to do an adaptive wake surf clinic and wanted to know if I would be interested. I replied "Just tell me the date". About a week later the whole plan was set. Troy at Boardco was on board and Texas Ski Ranch was our hosting location. It's safe to say I was as excited to teach this clinic as everyone was to ride in it. I will admit I was a little nervous also. Knowing that not everyone had full range of motion of there knees or any motion at all had me questioning myself if I could get them up and riding. Well Saturday morning came. The cable at TSR was buzzing, The boat lake was flat and we had our first group of riders. Scott, Kevin, Johnny and Mona. I did a quick little demo run and showed them the easiest way to get up and ride. Well little did I know, but each one of these riders would be a special situation and we would have to adjust our methods to their capabilities. Scott was the first rider in the water. With just a few pulls we had our first rider up and riding. Scott was instantly hit with the bug to be on a board. After his first surf lesson he went in, grabbed a wakeboard and headed off to TSR's little bro cable and started wake boarding. It paid off! He came back for a quick set in the afternoon and popped right up and a few minutes later he was doing laps without the rope and having a ball. Next up Johnny. Johnny was in a really bad car crash just 8 months ago. They showed me pictures of his car and it is just a miracle that he is alive. But to be out on a boat and such a positive fun person was so inspiring. Johnny started off trying to get up regular footed. This was a little hard with his prosthetic leg being his back foot. So we decided to try and go goofy footed and 2 pulls later Johnny was up and riding down the lake on the wake surf board. What he has overcome in just 8 short months was incredible. And here he was smiling ear to ear and wake surfing. Kevin jumped in after Johnny and was like a seasoned vet. Grabbed the rope and was up and riding in no time. It appeared Kevin had done this before. Then I heard that he tried it last year and never got out of the water to his feet. Well he did that and more. Before long Kevin was feeling the wave push and the rope was flying into the boat. Kevin was cruising up and down the lake and had the surfing stoke. This is how the whole day went. We took out Seth in the afternoon. Seth has a prosthetic leg, but that didn't slow him down. After a few close attempts at standing up Seth was getting tired. So we went for a little fun body surf session on the board. Next thing Seth knew he was surfing on his stomach with no rope. And had a smile ear to ear. One of the guys was in school with Dave to work in the prosthetic medical field. After a few tries and almost ready to give up, we had Jim up and cruising down the lake. He was instantly part of the "one more time" tribe and did a great job. At the end of the day we had another Kevin come cruising up on his custom segway with off road tires. Kevin is a double amputee above his knees. I knew this was going to be one of the hardest attempts of getting someone up I would ever have. But Kevin was confident and so was I. We started with the board on the platform and had Kevin climb on it in the standing position. We gave this a few tries but with little movement to bend and absorb the motion it was super hard. So on to the next thing. We had Kevin sit down on the board and we got the boat up to speed. Dave held the rope tight so he had some leverage and I slowly slid the board into the wave. It wasn't long and Kevin was cruising with no rope and surfing behind the boat. It was incredible. Then he surprised all of us when he held the rope and started carving up and down the face of the wave in the sitting position. Then he kept impressing us and started carving up and over the wave going wake to wake. I also got to meet Azalia. She is a sweet 5 year old who lost her right leg above the knee. When i asked her if she was ready to surf, she didn't hesitate at all to tell me YES. She jumped right in with me and we were off. She was quite at first but I asked if she was having fun she started laughing and smiling ear to ear. We were doing some big sprays and cruising with no rope. Every time we fell she would clutch my neck and say "Can we go again?" and give me a big smile. She had a blast out in the water. The whole day was so humbling and really made me open my eyes. Its easy to get caught up in the day to day and complain about things that really are not a big deal. This was the most rewarding thing I have been able to do thanks to wake surfing. Scott, Kevin, Johnny, Mona, Jim, Seth, Kevin and Azalia I thank you guys so much for coming out and you all inspired me more than you know. Dave Patterson, Troy and Kris at Boardco, Bob and the team at Phase 5 and the whole crew at Texas Ski Ranch, Thanks for including me and for being apart of this awesome event! Everyone else enjoy the summer, always have fun and teach someone new hope to wake surf! I will be posting a short video soon Words by: Drew Danielo IMG_4967 IMG_4973 IMG_5022 Kevin up and riding IMG_5007 IMG_4997 Johnny getting the hang of it IMG_4991 IMG_4986 Scott in round 1 IMG_4979 IMG_5039 IMG_5041 Hanging with Azalia Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.38.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.35.46 PM Jim getting some riding time Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.33.14 PM Scott round 2 no ropes needed Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.30.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.29.54 PM IMG_5043 IMG_5067 Kevin! IMG_5068 Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.51.00 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.52.29 PM Seth tearing it up Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.53.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.53.55 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.54.04 PM IMG_5032 To end the day I was treated to Dinner at The Salt Lick. As you can see it was good! IMG_5071

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