Surfside Beach, SC - Hundreds of onlookers cheered as eighty adaptive surfers rode the rolling waves at the Wheel to Surf event at Surfside Beach, South Carolina, over the weekend. The event was on hiatus for for three years due to the pandemic came back in a big way. It was largest event in the history of the organization with more than 100 applicants and 80 participants on the day of the event.
The event was the brainchild of Brock Johnson, who surfed for many years until an accident left him in a wheelchair. Returning to the water brought Johnson great joy, a joy he wished to share with everyone in the disabled community.
Johnson's message to the throng of volunteers working the event was simple, "Share your passion, make it fun!"
The eighty participants were split up between color coded teams of 12 to 15 volunteers. Each team was responsible for transporting the surfers to the water, transferring them from specially adapted beach chair to a surf board and setting up a safety zone from deep water to the shore. The surf board would easily ride the waves but always within a few feet of a safety net of volunteers ready to catch the surfer in case of a wipe out. Some surfers rode tandem with a guide, while others opted to ride solo. The surfers had their choice of solo surf boards, tandem boards, stand-up paddle boards and even a rowing catamaran to ride the waves.
The one thing that everyone was feeling that day was joy as everyone whooped and cheered as surfers glided from the churning waters to the shallow beach.
About 100 volunteers worked tirelessly to give 80 people with disabilities the opportunity to ride the waves. It was a day filled with joy, triumph, laughter and the cheers of hundreds of beach visitors that supported the efforts of the Wheel to Surf event.
For more information on upcoming adaptive sport events, visit https://adaptivesurfproject.com.