Adaptive Surfing Flowrider Tampa
An incredibly fun night was held for the JAHVAH Adaptive Sports Team and other disabled veterans. The indoor Surfing wave is unique to Adrenalina, which is an action sports megastore located in International Plaza in Tampa. The wave is created by high powered water jets that shoot large amounts of water up the wave-shaped ramp. This is the perfect setup for practicing surfing and bodyboarding, and this crowd had the whole place to themselves for practice.
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The staff of Adrenalina welcomed the group and gave a few tips on riding the wave, with either a "surf" board or a body board. Once we got started, there was quite a crowd watching from behind the glass and were all cheering the group on and sharing in the fun. Its not often you get to see someone surfing in a mall, much less a group of not-so-disabled veterans! There’s nothing like seeing these warriors get to ride a wave and enjoy themselves that much! The body boards were relatively easy to get used to, but the surfboards were quite a challenge for all of us. The surfboards were about the size of a kiteboard and had no fins or footstraps, resulting in a very slippery ride.
The Adrenalina surf coaches were especially helpful in getting everyone up the steps and onto the starting platform, which is a bit of a challenge when in a wheelchair. After a few runs, we figured out that shutting off the water and letting the guys slide back down the “wave” to the starting platform was the quickest and easiest way to keep the fun flowing. All the participants took turns on the wave, each trying to outdo each other with “barrel rolls” on the body boards. Looking around the room, all I could see were big grins, from both inside and outside the glass, and its moments like those that makes events like this so much fun!
After hanging out with this group a few times, I have a better appreciation for daily challenges of disabled persons, the abilities of these warriors, and for my freedoms. Based on the crowd of onlookers and their non-stop cheers, I am sure there's many others out there who feel the same way!
If you would like to volunteer for events like this one, please visit the volunteer area at www.actionsportsfoundation.org
This event made possible by employees of Veteran's Administration, the JAHVAH Sports Team, and MOAA. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help, and thanks to Adrenalina for accomodating all the athletes.
Our next action sports adventure is water skiing and wakeboarding at Lake Seminole on May 2nd and we hope to see you all there!