Waves Heal the Wounded: Operation Surf 2015

By Mike Koslap and Michael Dalton

In HD Videos

June 21, 2015

Video Article

For the second consecutive year, CrossFit Inc. sponsored Operation Surf Santa Cruz, held April 21-27. The program serves wounded members of the military by allowing them the opportunity to rehabilitate through what some call a “healing” outlet: the ocean.

“Operation Surf is a weeklong recreational rehabilitation surf clinic when we bring out our wounded warriors in transition—men and women—that were primarily injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan,” says Van Curaza, president of Amazing Surf Adventures, the organization that created the program.

This year, CrossFit invited some adaptive athletes from its community to join in the fun. CrossFit Redefined athlete Angel Gonzalez was part of the event held in Santa Cruz, California.

“Last time I was surfing, I walked in the water and came out in a wheelchair. So going out with all my new friends from the new adaptive world, man, it’s been absolutely amazing,” Gonzalez says. “My accident happened in 2001, so over the last 14 years, I haven’t had the opportunity to get back on the water and surf. So when this opportunity came about, I was like, ‘Yes, let’s do it. I’ve got to close that chapter.’”

Operation Surf started with one wounded hero’s desire to surf. Today, it serves the community of wounded warriors and shows them anything is possible—even after trauma. For many, the experience is just the first step toward rehabilitation after injury.

“I really didn’t think that I was going to be able to do physical stuff like this anymore,” says U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Breece. “I thought I was going to be in the wheelchair, real limited in what I can do. It’s just opened my eyes to see that I can still do badass stuff.”

Video by Mike Koslap and Michael Dalton.

7min 46sec

Additional reading: “Warriors on the Waves” by Andréa Maria Cecil, Dave Re and Naveen Hattis, published April 19, 2014.

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1 Comment on “Waves Heal the Wounded: Operation Surf 2015”

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wrote …

This sounds like a great program! So nice to see surfers giving back to the community and especially our service men and women. Seems like having traction pads that cover the entire surfboard helps keep these athletes securely on the surfboards while on the waves.

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