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Disabilities don’t hold San Diego surfers back

ADA Sign Depot

September 11, 2017

ADA Sign Depot

Disabilities don’t hold San Diego surfers back

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Surfing is a difficult sport as it is: it takes balance, strength and good coordination.

Now throw in visual impairment and spinal cord injuries.

The sport can be extra challenging for those with physical disabilities.

But Sunday, the labels were taken away, allowing everyone to just be called one thing.

And that’s “surfer.”

“The waves are a lot of more forgiving than concrete if you fall and slip you’re probably going to be all right,” said Josh Loya. “I got a lot of help from Coach Pat . There’s no reason why you can’t do that when you’re blind.”

Surfers relied on their auditory skills at the 22nd annual Blind Surfing Event using a foamie surfboard and muscle memory.

Dave Cutnower reconnected with his love for surfing, using Coach Pat as his eyes and going by feel.

“Coach Pat will tell me if the waves coming … once that wave grabs me I know what to do to get up,” said Dave.

Josh, Dave and Coach Pat have bonded.

Also on Sunday, over at La Jolla Shores there were more memories being created at another event by Life Rolls On.

“[It’s] one of the few times I feel like a normal person, you know?” said Paula Peltier who participated in They Will Surf Again. “I caught about 10 waves and never wiped out once.

“It’s a feeling of floating and being able to fly. It is amazing. It is so amazing.

The huge confidence booster was exactly what Jesse Billauer said he had in mind when he founded the organization Life Rolls On.

He wants to allow patients with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities to experience the thrill of surfing regardless of their limitations.

“For me, it’s about giving back to the community; letting people feel that independence, that freedom that they lost,” said Jesse.

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