Breezy weather. Water temperatures in the comfortable high 60s. And thanks to Mother Nature, an endless supply of perfect, frothy waves.
If you were a surfer on Sunday in Wildwood Crest, N.J., it was hard to imagine a more flawless day.
On the beach at the foot of Rambler Road, more than 60 people who might not get many chances to surf had an opportunity to do just that, thanks to a MossRehab-sponsored program called They Will Surf Again, the flagship program of Life Rolls On, a nonprofit that serves as a resource and advocates for people whose lives have been affected by spinal cord injury.
More than 60 persons with disabilities took to the water on specially adapted surfboards, with the assistance of more than 400 volunteers—more than 60 of them from MossRehab. One of those surfboards is brand-new, decorated with art inspired by Monet's water lilies, created by the art therapy program at MossRehab—partnered with the Philadelphia Museum of Art—and crafted and donated by Tuckerton, N.J., board maker Luke Alvarez. Headline Graphics deeply discounted the printing for the top side of the board. MossRehab donated another surfboard last year.
Some of the volunteers prepared the surfers on shore, helping them into wetsuits, wheeling them up to the water's edge, and helping them onto the boards and guiding them out into the water—waiting for just the right wave. Other volunteers formed lines on either side of the path of the surfboard—ready to assist if anyone wiped out—as the board and the surfer (accompanied by a skilled volunteer) rushed to shore.
This is the 10th year for the free event, and the fifth year MossRehab has been involved. Over the past five years, MossRehab has provided more than 200 volunteers to support the effort. This year, MossRehab was the official sponsor.
We spent the morning splashing in the waves and putting our cameras at risk (maybe just a little) to bring you several photos.
Here they are.