Zen and the Art of Adaptive Surfing

Zen and the Art of Adaptive Surfing

By Bob Vogel|2021-04-01T15:38:17-04:00April 1st, 2021|

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Alana Nichols competes in the Duke’s Oceanfest contest on her wave ski in Oahu, Hawaii.

Catching a wave creates a visceral connection with ocean and energy. As your board accelerates, time slows and you enter a Zen state of “here and now.” By ride’s end, your brain is flooded with endorphins. Whether it’s your first ride or your thousandth, you feel great and want more. With advances in equipment and a growing list of adaptive surf organizations, adaptive surfing has evolved to enable wheelchair users at any level to ride, whether they’re beginners or professional competitors. Here is a look at how the sport evolved and where it is today.

Although a lone pioneer or two were figuring the sport out as far back as the late 1970s, adaptive surfing started to take shape in the early 2000s. Life Rolls On, the first adaptive surf program, was created in 2001 by surfer Jesse Billauer, who’d been a top amateur about to go pro prior to his accident. He sustained a C6 [...]

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