AmpSurf Adaptive Surf Clinic Brings Waves of Success

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An ominous weather report was forecast for the Breezy Point/Rockaway Beach AmpSurf Chapter’s first surf clinic for our local challenged young people on Saturday, August 12 at Beach 67th Street. The weather forecast had instructors, volunteer assistants, parents and participants concerned that the event would not be held. However, it did not rain as was predicted by the weather service. Instead a light Southeast wind and a small 2-3 foot swell made for a perfect day!

Ten local instructors and 10 volunteer assistants helped 15 participants with various challenges, learn to surf. Participants were encouraged and helped by the instructors to use their own ability to adapt to surf activities. We teach our participants to do whatever they can do with the ability they have and not think about what they cannot do. The mission of AmpSurf is to help rehabilitate people with all kinds of disabilities through surfing. It utilizes the healing power of the ocean. The experience is physically, mentally and spiritually healing and uplifting.

The AmpSurf instructors have all completed the AmpSurf Instructor Certification program provided by Dana Cummings, a retired Marine. He founded AmpSurf 15 years ago in Pismo Beach, California. All instructors are also trained in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED. The Breezy Point/Rockaway Beach instructors are experienced surfers, swimmers and watermen and waterwomen with decades of experience around the ocean. They are assisted by volunteers who help with logistics and act as land and water assists. Safety, having fun, learning to surf and becoming comfortable in and around the ocean is the goal of each surf clinic.

This was the local chapter’s first clinic done especially for Rockaway Beach's challenged young people. We have been working with wounded veterans for over a decade. We help veterans who have all kinds of disabilities including amputees, blind, autistic, PTSD, TBI and spinal cord injuries.

Brian Kellar, co-coordinator of the Breezy Point/Rockaway Beach Chapter said, "It was a lot of fun. You could see the smiles on the faces of everyone. The 'Happiness Quotient' was extremely high. You couldn't get some of the participants out of the water." Mary Leonard, co-owner of the US Athletic Training Center and an instructor noted that, "You could see the love of the ocean in the eyes of our new surfers." Ashley Fallon, another new member of our AmpSurf team
said, "It was the most inspiring day of the summer." Derrick Brumleve, our ace photographer said, "It was a high energy experience for all who participated."

There were cheers, high fives and laughter coming throughout the three-hour clinic. The "Surf Stoke" was off the charts. The self-esteem of our new surfers was enhanced by developing a new connection to the ocean and their fellow participants. They learned a new sport and became comfortable with the ocean. There was already talk about coming back for next year’s clinic. A big "Mahalo" (Thank You) goes out to all the participants, their parents for getting them to the event, the instructors, volunteers and spectators on the beach.

You can donate to AmpSurf a non-profit organization (Ein # 68-0569858) by sending a tax deductible donation to: AmpSurf, P.O. Box 1034, Pismo Beach, California 93448. The web site is www.AmpSurf.org. If you shop on Amazon you can go to Amazon Smile, select Association of Amputee Surfers. Amazon will donate half a percent of your purchase to AmpSurf, which helps with the expenses of all the AmpSurf Chapters.

Our local Breezy Point/Rockaway Beach Chapter is looking for donations as well as soft longboards and wetsuits. You can contact John W. Roberts, co-coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. regarding donations to our local chapter and about future events.

Photos by Derek Brumleve.

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