The Draw of the Water: Adaptive Surfing
For some who have suffered debilitating injuries, one of the biggest joys in life is overcoming the challenge of getting back to nature. The pressure of constantly being surrounded by four walls can quickly give anyone cabin fever, making the pull of nature and open skies nearly irresistible. One of the most popular water sports going right now for injured or disabled individuals is adaptive surfing programs.
Adaptive surfing has a wide range of benefits that go far beyond just getting out and back to Mother Nature. First off, it is not easy and it is a excellent form of fitness. Adaptive surfers will learn early on that both physical strength and endurance will come into play as well as core strength and balance as they develop the skills needed to surf.
Beyond the physical there are the mental benefits as well. Surfing has been said to be a great anti-depressant. The feeling of exhilaration as you skim the surface of the water has a profound effect on most surfers. After a day at the beach, it is hard not to be in a good mood.
With adaptive surfing, surfboards come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the person and their needs as well as their skill level , there are a lot of variable to finding the proper board.
Thankfully, there are a plenty of large and caring groups out there that are more than willing and ready to assist you in learning to surf. In adaptive surfing there are two main methods:
The prone style can be done in an assisted and an unassisted fashion. Prone-assisted surfing often has someone that will assist the surfer in catching a wave. This can be done by paddling or pushing them into the proper position as well as helping the surfer back onto their board after catching a wave.
Prone-unassisted is the adaptive style of independent athletes that can catch their own waves and get back on their own board without assistance. Often the only assistance that adaptive surfers of this level need is help in and out of the water.
Waveski boards are surfboards that are designed for the surfer to sit upright and use with a kayak paddle to catch waves as they come in. These are excellent for first-time adaptive surfers as many often have room for an abled bodied person to help with navigating the surf until the surfer has the confidence to surf unassisted.