On June 7th, I had the opportunity to cover some amazing athletes and people at Jacksonville beach.
Brooks Rehabilitation Hosted its 7th Annual Adaptive Surfing Day, where over 50 people with disabilities came to surf the waves and show the world and themselves what they can do. These athletes were amazing, riding the waves and smiling. I can't surf and I have no disabitleis and here were athletes without the use of their limbs, of all ages, surfing and hanging ten.
To support these athletes, over 250 volunteers were on hand to guide the surfers in the water and make sure things were in ship shape condition on the beach.
The volunteers and the athletes themselves show me that their is hope and happiness available for anyone. That this world is still a caring and loving place.
All images shot on my Nikon F3 camera with nikkor 85mm f1.4 and kodak portra 160 film.
There were several people that I would love to do a follow up story on and follow them in their life, here are a few people who played against the odds and road the waves:
Gage Burns, an 11 year old who suffered a spinal cord injury, comes from Hope, Arkansas each summer to stay with his grandparents just so he can participate in Brooks sports activities.
Stan Harris, a 50 year old high/middle school teacher in Clay County, participates in all he can but is limited by his Parkinson's and transportation issues.
Wes Johnson, who was paralyzed when he rolled his Jeep in 2011. He is an active participant in the Brooks adaptive sports program, but this is his first time surfing.
Steve Kenny sustained a spinal cord injury 24 years ago while diving. His first time back in the water was 4 years ago at this event. He is the Reeve Foundation Mentor Program Regional Coordinator and was the one who encouraged Wes to join the adaptive sports program. Steve is also the wheelchair rugby coach and participates in rowing and all of our special events.