i've written several times about the Life Rolls On life-changing event They Will Surf Again. i wanted to share my last event back in august. better late than never! i love to look back and remember each individual and unique experience, and to give outsiders insight on the kinds of things someone with a disability can still accomplish, and also to acknowledge the people out there taking the time and effort to present us with these amazing opportunities to enrich our lives.
(sadly, this time, my most exciting time has no decent photos. we put all of our belongings and cameras in the car because of the storm. all we got are some camera phone photos from my boy toy, which are better than none!)
i called it a life-changing event because it really is. as someone who thought i'd never get in the ocean again, i still remember and will never forget the first time i was carried on a surfboard like a princess into the ocean. since then, i've been to four events total and each time was as amazing as the last. most recently in august, i drove down to virginia beach for my 4th and most absolute fun venture into the deep blue. a bit more stressful than previous times (we had some issues last year with a certain volunteer trying to cut my time in the water short, which sadly happened again this year.. advice to any interested surfers, keep your eye on the time and don't take a second less than 30 minutes!!), but amazing nonetheless. early on in the day, i was asked to switch my surfing time slot with someone who supposedly had to leave early. i'd hate for someone to miss out on such a fulfilling experience, so i agreed.... not knowing a storm was headed our way. the sky increasingly got darker and darker as the knot in my stomach grew larger and larger, worried that i drove 6 hours to miss out on one of the things i look forward to most all year. it was about 15 minutes until my time slot when that dark, angry sky started to rain.
finally, it was my time and literally before i could even blink, i was in the water and out at sea. the water was cold, the waves were huge, and i was in my glory. despite all the stress of the day and the storm coming in, i had the greatest time. sometimes you get good waves and sometimes you don't. in my 3 previous surfing experiences, i had a variation of good and not so good. due to the storm, the waves were large and rough and it was a blast to ride them to shore, to crash and flip into the water. i hadn't even noticed halfway through that the skies started to clear and turn back to that normal pretty pale blue. whereas the waves were an absolute blast, it was also the most terrified i've ever been.
i rode the waves all the way back to shore, where the head of my board crashed into the wet sand and i went flying off. every time. i'm pretty sure that shouldn't have been allowed and may have even been dangerous. next time i'll be sure to let the volunteers know not to let me go that far on my own. i don't need an even more screwed up spinal cord! so, every time i'd fall off, i'd lay in the sand waiting for help back on the board, which sometimes resulted in more waves crashing onto me and more terror filling my soul.
you wouldn't believe the amount of sand gathered in my bathing suit. handfuls and handfuls of it. in my bikini, on my back, in my shorts, in my hair, my ears, everywhere!
HUGE, huge thanks to LRO and the volunteers that stayed throughout this mess. i'm forever grateful to them and their dedication to helping me and others like me. it, of course, wouldn't be possible without them.
take a look at the posts and photos from all my surfing experiences HERE!