Access Surf Brings the Joy of Surfing to those Bound To Land

Access Surf Brings the Joy of Surfing to those Bound To Land

In our never tiring quest to deliver to you, reader, the most fascinating people in Hawaii who achieve the most extraordinary things, we turn to an organization that is changing lives all over Oahu and Maui. AccesSurf is a non-profit organization that invites physically and mentally challenged people to the beach for an afternoon of exploring the ocean—under the nurturing eyes of its member community.

We first learned of the organization after viewing a short film at this year's Maui Film Festival, produced by Explore.org. The film gave a bit of insight as to how AccesSurf volunteers spend their "Day at the Beach" preparing participants for surfing. The film showed volunteers assisting participants in to modified surfboards, double-hulled kayaks and other such floatable contraptions. Some arrived at the shoreline in wheelchairs; others with canes or crutches. All looked skeptical at first...

And then something magical happened. As the water rushed over their oft land-locked limbs, a sense of comfort was visibly seen between the volunteers and the participants. As the pairs paddles together in to the mellow surf, smiles became noticeable through a camera lens parked on the beach. And when the first wave was caught, the shouts of joy were indescribable.

AccesSurf president Mark Marble started the organization just over 2 years ago, with the intention of giving those who cannot approach the waters surrounding Hawaii a shot at enjoying its mana. He managed to wrangle in sponsors and an advisory board, which include some of the most prominent doctors on the islands, as well as singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, surf legend Fred Hemmings and pro tandem surfer Steve Boehne.

"Out in the surf, you can't tell a disabled wave ski surfer from an able bodied one," says Marble on his web site, in a description about the adaptive surfboards custom made for AccesSurf. "Most leg and lower spinal injuries are no detriment to wave skis surfing. There are paraplegics and amputees who are absolutely ripping waves apart on a wave ski."

If you would like to volunteer or participate in the next monthly AccesSurf event, it's coming up this August 2nd at Kalaeloa, Barbers Point Beach Park, 9:00 a.m.
Visit www.AccesSurf.org for more information.

"Out in the surf, you can't tell a disabled wave ski surfer from an able bodied one," said Marble