Guess What I Did in California

I WENT SURFING

I REPEAT

I


WENT


SURFING

want proof?
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boom. proof.
and I didn’t just go once, I went TWICE (insert surprised face emoji)
It wasn’t easy though! Not only did it take a lot of help (7-8 people), it was really hard keeping my head and chest up.
C5-C6 SCI (my injury level) effects your trunk muscles and arm muscles. This makes laying on my belly and holding my head up very difficult. Keeping my elbows tucked under my shoulders helps, but with the regular long board, my elbows kept sliding out! Sooooo for the second night of surfing my brother fixed the board accordingly.
IMG_6060

He pulled a Red Green move and used duct tape  (if you’ve never seen that show then i’m sorry- go watch it!!!)

The picture above shows pool noodles taped on the sides and the middle.
The side noodles stopped my elbows from sliding and the middle section supported my chest.
After he was done taping and taping and taping and taping and taping, he waxed it allllllll up!
This made a HUGE difference.

I know what you’re thinking – was I scared?! Yes…Duh, but not until I got in the water. When you’re on the sand looking out to the water the waves look tiny, powerless, and pathetic.

I thought this will be cake, BRING IT ON! Pshhh those waves have nothing on me.

….. then I got on the board……

First, we had to make it past the breaking waves. This was the toughest part. Wave after wave after wave, we kept getting hit. The noodles helped me keep my head and chest up, but A LOT of salt water still splashed in my face. Bryan (my brother, also the stud that’s in most of these pictures) kept wiping my eyes so i could see.

 

 

Eventually, we made it past the breakers and made it to the big waves. These were huge waves, but minimal splashing.

When you’re laying on your stomach at the trough (bottom) of the wave and look up, it looked 3x taller. l’m face to face with this wave that could easily swallow me. I can feel the power as it grew.  All i could think of was ccccrrrraaaaaapppp 

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So naturally, I sucked it up. I’m already on the board, might as well do it. The worst that can happen is I die…

ok just kidding that would be really bad

Next was the actual surfing part.

f i n a l l y

We turned the board around and waited for the best wave.

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Bryan shouted, “ready Abs?!”

i shouted back “heck yeah!!!!!”

I was so nervous!!!! The adrenaline took over any sanity I had left.

Here comes the wave…

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You think my face says woo hoo but really it was “I think I might die but whatevs!!!!”

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Now I’m thinking, “Ok this is actually happening. I’m not dead.. This is really fun”

Then this happened…

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Not once but twice.

The first time I fell off I went face first in the water. I can’t flip over so I had to hold my breath till help came. Luckily, they were right there and they picked me up right away. It was a little freaky but not enough to stop me. So naturally, I got back on the board.

The second time I fell off (the three pics above) I landed on my back. I was farther from help, but I could breathe so I wasn’t scared at all. I just closed my eyes and relaxed till help came.

Back on the board I gooooo!!

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This trip was soooo worth it. Surfing was UNREAL!!! Thank you Bryan, the family, and everyone else that helped! Thank you, Anna Ferree for these awesome pictures!!
 Last but not least- thanks to my parents for letting their adventurous child still be adventurous in a wheelchair.
 (and thanks for making me wear my life jacket)
You’re the real MVP

 If you want to try surfing (and you’re in a chair) here are some tips:

If you want to use a beach wheelchair you have to arrange that with the life guards. Also, certain beaches ask you to let them know when you need it days in advance.
I recommend wearing a wet suit, especially if you’re a quadriplegic. The wet suit keeps you warm but it also protected my elbows from rubbing on the board.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Let your team know how you’re feeling. If you are tired, need to adjust you arms/legs, scared, etc.
Put a strap around your legs so they stay together. Try to keep them centered, this will help your balance.
Be aware of your body temperature. When you get out of the water you might want a blanket to warm your legs up.
Wear a life jacket!
Remember to breathe 🙂
If you’re interested in surfing, check out Life Rolls OnFoundation!

 

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3 thoughts on “Guess What I Did in California

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