The First Annual Adaptive Surf Off took place on Saturday in North Myrtle Beach.
Around 18 local participants came to the event to surf, some of whom had never been on a surfboard before.
Veronica Tario was among those who took to the waves. Last August, she broke her neck diving into shallow water, but surfing has helped her get back into the water again. Saturday was the second-time she has ever surfed.
â??It's hard to get out in the water, so being able to get out again and experience the waves all over again. you know it kind of makes you feel like youâ??re not hurt. It's natural,â?? Veronica said.
The passion Veronica feels towards surfing was shared by many at the event, including Brock Johnson. Brock was an avid surfer for 15 years. However, his love for the sport was put on hold around two years ago after he broke his neck from a diving incident. Since then, he has been able to participate in adaptive surfing and wanted others in the Myrtle Beach area to have that experience, too.
â??The ocean and surfing is such a beautiful thing. Most people that have disabilities and especially mobility issues are stuck in their houses and they can't really do a sport but this is totally something we can help them with. And they can see it, and they can do it, and that's why Iâ??m doing this,â?? Brock said.
The mission of adaptive surfing is to make the sport available to people of different disabilities. Ocean Cure, a non-profit organization out of North Carolina, was there at the surf-off to give surf lessons to participants.
Kevin Murphy, president and co-founder of Ocean Cure, said he has watched his project grow. He said about a decade ago it was tough to get even ten people to these adaptive surfing events, but Kevin now sees around 40 people.
â??I like doing this more than surfing on my own. I grew up surfing for awhile and after starting this organization six years ago, I found out that i have more fun helping people who may not think they're able to surf,â?? Kevin said.
The Ocean Cure group partnered with Coastal Carolina Adaptive Sports & Recreation and the Surfrider Foundation to help make this event possible.