People with disabilities take to the waves with ‘Surf for All’ on Long Island


A surf program on Long Island allows people with disabilities to experience the healing powers of the ocean.

It’s all thanks to the generosity of others.

9-year-old Isaiah Bird was born without legs.

If you think that has stopped him from living well you’d be dead wrong.

“Surfing is fun because you get to do cool things, you get to be in the water, and it’s just so much fun,” Isaiah said.

It’s made possible by the group “Surf for All” based in Long Beach.

“One of the problems with the disabilities community, we tend to coddle our children too much and we don’t give them the experience of falling down skinning their knee, hitting their head on the board, getting up and saying that was fun,” said Jim Mulvaney, Surf for All.

Mulvaney started the program in 2002 for his son who has autism.

This year he decided to have a whole summer camp.

“We’re trying to get more and more of them to be able to just surf,” Mulvaney said.

The camp runs four, one-week sessions. The participants get to surf four days in a row.

“This is rather than just have them an afternoon of fun, let’s have them four days of development, so it’s not just being on the board, we have some special exercises for them,” Mulvaney said.

“I love it I’ve been doing it for about 20-something years now, before and after I got hurt, and it’s just as fun now as it was then,” said Joe Testaverde, participant.

Lora Webster plays volleyball for the U.S. Women’s Paralympic team.

They just won gold at Rio so her next thing to conquer is the water.

“This is my first day out. I caught probably about four waves and it was awesome. My leg fell off a couple of times, but not all the way, so I was able to recover and hop back up,” Webster said.

Kathy Butler says life started blossoming for her son Charlie as soon as he started participating with “Surf for All.”

“His verbal skills, his communication skills,” Butler said, “Everything in his life started getting better.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

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