Surf's up! Non-profit helps adaptive athletes hit the waves

Surf's up! Non-profit helps adaptive athletes hit the waves

NAHANT, Mass. — Catching waves off Nahant Beach is certainly a New England summer favorite.

On Saturday, a group of adaptive athletes got a chance to try out surfing.

Bill Pakula lost his leg back in 2002, but today, his disability was not about to get in the way of his love for surfing.

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"It is awesome, it is so much fun," said Pakula. "I've never surfed before until I got my leg amputated."

Once he lost his leg, Pakula never thought he'd get around, let alone surf.

"I was told I'd be in crutches for the rest of my life," said Pakula. "I had four operations but I'm digging it now, everything's cool."

AmpSurf, a disabilities support group founded by Dana Cummings, who is also an amputee, helps people live without boundaries.

AmpSurf hosts clinics like the one in New England in New York and California, where organizers help people with disabilities not to focus on what they cannot do, but rather see what they can do.

"We have kids here with autism, amputees like myself," said Cummings. "Basically the whole spectrum of disabilities and we just show them they can do anything they want to."

Chris Slavin and her dog Earle, love surfing as well, but for Chris it was a challenge after she was hurt in a snowboarding accident.

Both Bill and Chris recommend AmpSurf and say that, after an accident, groups like this help people with disabilities learn to have the right mindset, one that says anything is possible.

"Just be open to opportunities and just live, create a life for yourself," said Chris.

You can find out more about AmpSurf here.