I created the first adaptive surfboard as a contribution to the Wounded Warriors Surf Camp in Del Mar, California. It was designed Specifically for the amputee soldiers having lost one or both legs that still wanted to take on the challenge of surfing with the hopes of enjoying its life-lifting fulfillment. It had occurred to me as I spent time at the camp that struggling with the longerboards was certainly providing a daunting challenge, but what seemed missing was the pure enjoyment of becomming one with the wave or being able to easily control the board to acheive that end. As most surfers have always known, standing is cool....but it is not the key to feeling the exileration and freedom that wave riding can provide (Ask Greenough). The key I think is hooking up with the motion, speed and energy of the wave and having controll and command of your experience within it.
For those who have been left without the weight, leverage and propultion that most of us take for granted, the manipulating (simply getting it pointed from east to west for instance) from our lower extremeties becomes a much more difficult task. The shorter, wider and more bouyant platform allows ease of manitulation of the board in the water while allowing the board to be paddled and catch waves without assistance much more easily.
Rusty stated simply in one of his surfboard-technology articles not long ago, "shorter and wider is faster".
Rusty was right. Those elements, combined with the right planshape and rocker, produce unparalleled speed in average surf conditions. It was my hope for this design that those elements along with some added control devices would reign king and provide the adaptive surfers their ability to connect with the wave, its speed and it's motion and provide the same exileration and joy the we all chase every time we paddle out.
Based on the reports I getting.....It seems to be working!
The board pictured in this post I shaped and outfitted for Julie Carruthers, a determined athlete and surfer who lost her leg in her battle with bone cancer some 13 years ago. This board was made possible throught the efforts and generousity of K2 Adventure Foundation www.k2adventures.org.
Special thanks to Kevin Cherilla and Kristen Sandquist from K2.
Julie, as my friend Josh Hall would say, "Slide the glide!"