By Posie Mansfield
I know only too well how many people tell that you can’t do something that ‘normal’ people do because you have a disability. I lost my leg above the knee in 2011 due to an infection in my knee. Since that time I have been told many times that I couldn’t return to the activities I used to do before I lost my leg.
I didn’t listen to them and found Spaulding Adaptive Sports and other organizations that offer those of us with disabilities the opportunity to participate in many recreational activities. In 2013, I heard about an organization called AmpSurf out of Pismo Beach in California. They had come east to offer surfing opportunities to people with any kind of disability in New England. It was originally started by an amputee and later broadened to anyone with a disability. I had never surfed before, but when I heard about it through my contacts with other adaptive programs I thought to myself, ‘I can do that’! I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand up, but they don’t expect you to. Lying down on the surfboard, kneeling or sitting, all give you the same rush. The healing power of the ocean is remarkable. I was reluctant at first, but the amazing instructors and volunteers make sure you are completely safe and never are deeper than being able to touch the ground. A certified instructor leads you out about waist deep, and when a wave approaches, gives you a gentle push and you are off! Gliding towards the shore, volunteers are waiting to catch you or pick you up if you fall off. You are never left alone and what fun it is! It gave me more confidence, better balance and an opportunity to be with others with disabilities so that I never felt ‘different’ or alone. They surf at Nahant Beach, York Beach in Maine, Middletown, RI and Rye Beach in NH. I particularly like York Beach. It is a clean and friendly beach and they set up a wide area just for AmpSurf participants. Please check out their website for more information and for dates of upcoming clinics. It is www.ampsurf.org. It costs nothing to participate, and you won’t find a more exhilarating experience than surfing. It gives you such a feeling of freedom when you’re gliding into the shore. I even sometimes forget I have a disability. I guarantee you’ll have a blast! The healing power of the ocean is the best therapy you can get. Check it out and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it! I did and loved it!
Want to know more? Contact Posie directly at:
COP Amputee Association, Inc.- COPAA
PO Box 304
Wenham, MA 01984