My first experience with Wheels2Water was at the La Jolla Shores surfing event. It was to be my first time surfing laying down and as I traveled down to San Diego I could tell that I was nervous. After arriving and meeting Travis, the volunteers and the other surfers, I felt so at ease and was very anxious to get in the water and catch some waves.
The volunteers were very helpful and also so much fun to be around. Not once did they make me feel that I was incapable of doing something and they continually motivated me to keep going and give it all I got. There were times that I did wipe out and before I even had the chance to react or even panic there was someone looking after me and would swoop me up and get me right back on that board to go charge it again.
I think that this organization has gone a step further than any other sports organization with their ability to see a need and meet it head on without any hesitation. Their support team of volunteers love the sport themselves and they want people to feel that same passion. Passion about something that raises ones confidence and self esteem that they too can still do what able body people do and it is a shame that some able body people don't take advantage of that.
Thank you Wheels2Water for wanting to make a difference and paving the way to create a brighter future for so many.
When I went surfing with Wheels2Water that was the first time I caught a really big wave. I couldn't wait to get home and tell my friends about it. Surfing to me feels like you're flying. I'm so thankful for programs like W2W. It really lets me know there's nothing I can't do, and your volunteers are AWESOME!
When I was younger, I used to surf every chance I got. Before school, during school (hehehe), after school, whenever, small waves, big waves, it didn't matter. I just loved being in the water. So when I had my accident 5 years ago I was devastated by the thought of not surfing again. Then I heard about Wheels2Water. I got in contact with Travis Tremble and he flew me out from New York to surf California's awesome waves. The whole experience was a dream come true, I got to go to California for the first time and surf Cali waves. The volunteers were awesome, it seemed like seconds after every ride, I was already back out behind the break, lining up for my next ride. This was the turning point of my disabled life, from that day on, I'm now more than able, I now know there's nothing I can't do. This program is so great that I'm trying to expand W2W to give East Coast's disabled people the same life changing experience I was lucky enough to have.
Thanks W2W, you've changed my life!!!
Joey Testaverde, NY
I wish there were more organizations like this one, so when I travel I could surf different spots of the country's coast while I'm there, might as well right? Although i mainly wanted to say THANK YOU, and that I'll try and make it to as many events as possible!!! Thank you so much for helping me have so much fun!!! Since my accident in Oct. 2003, I don't think I've done anything as exciting as the surfing or scuba diving I've participated in with Wheels2Water, both were new and exciting experiences; especially the surfing!!! At both events (Blackies, Huntington Beach and La Jolla Shores, La Jolla) I felt very enabled to try and push myself, thanks to the support of volunteers from all over, and especially to the other quad/para-surfers who came to surf and have fun as well!!!! I LOVED every second being out there, the anticipation, the thrill of the ride, and especially the weightlessness of the ocean.
Since I was a body boarder before, surfing laying down was pretty similar, but a lot faster and I LOVED IT!!! The only way I can describe the feeling I got from surfing at the Wheels2Water events is by comparing it to the feeling I got scoring goals in soccer, but a bit colder! Even though the waves didn't hold up to the wind that well at Blackies, they were still super fun to ride and get my bearings with, especially with Jesse's custom board with hand grips on top. But that day in Huntington, the thing that really stood out to me, was the paddle out! I know that's usually the worst time for people, especially people with SCI's, but it really was exciting to get thrown around by the ocean again. It made me feel like I was 10 years old again riding the waves down at Wind-n-Sea in La Jolla. Even though it was cloudy and cold, I felt exhilarated and warm in the full wet-suit and small life vest I was bestowed from Whees2Water.
The next Wheels2Water event, for some reason, was planned at the La Jolla Shores in San Diego. Since I've got family that live in La Jolla I knew I would be in attendance at this event, even if it was a 5 hour drive for me, but I wasn't too sure who else would be willing to make the drive. H had mentioned the La Jolla event to my friend Edgar, who I met at the UCLA physical therapy program I was involved in, and while driving on the 405 S. to San Diego he calls me on my cell and says, "You here yet or what??". Sportingly I replied, "AWESOME, you made it!! But don't give me a hard time, you only had to drive from LA Punk!! Be there in a few!!". Even though it was an overcast day in December, there was still a good turn out of surfers, volunteers, and spectators, so right away I was stoked and ready to ride the waves with Wheels2Water in La Jolla. I could see the look of terror on Edgar's face when he saw me out in the water with the 4-7 foot closed out beach breaking waves, I was LOVING every minute of it again though, like usual. Once floating in anticipation, past the breakers, the waves just kept rolling on in. I was thinking to myself, "YES!!! I'm going to ride some good waves today!!!" I was using a different kind of board this time. It was a bit longer and a bit less maneuverable, but it was perfect for the waves the Shores produced. The first wave that my uncle, a Wheels2Water volunteer at both events, pushed me into was rough!! I didn't pull back the nose of the bored enough and WHAM!!! Went nose first into the bottom of the wave, slid right off the board, and was comforted by a slam from the next wave in the set. IT WAS GREAT! I tumbled and was tossed around for about 5 seconds under the water, by the time I was ready to breath again, there was a Wheels2Water volunteer almost at my side. Again I felt completely comfortable, so this time after I took about 6 waves on the board, I decided to push myself to try something new like try riding on the paddle board with Gene. I won't normally let other people do things for me, I'm kind of stubborn I guess, but Gene had been doing this for a while now and I'd been shown how it was done at Wheels2Water in Huntington Beach by Patrick. We got out where the surf was and waited for a wave. Gene said, "You want a good one??", and I replied, "HELL YEAH!!", so we waited for a good set to come through. Once Gene spotted the wave and said, "Hold on!" sternly, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. We carved up and down the face of the wave while the excitement kept mounting, and just before we would have rolled over Gene straightened the board and rode us to the beach triumphantly as I hollered, "Y-E-A-A-H-H!!!" , and stuck out my tongue. It was a great day with everyone that came to help Wheels2Water get us all out having surfing fun times!
I can only hope that the Wheels2Water organization will continue to expand and flourish in other parts of the country as well as here, and I will help to support in any way I can. I love the surfing program offered through Wheels2Water and the scuba experience dive training in La Jolla was great too. I can only ask that wherever and whenever Wheels2Water has an event, I am informed in advanced so that I can partake along side in the adventure of Wheels2Water's ongoing water sports programs.
THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN Wheels2Water, and remember things can only get better from here, or at least that's what I tell myself!