Looking out our balcony, it did not look promising. First, it was overcast. Secondly, the forecast called for rain. I know – you’re at the beach and getting wet anyway – what’s the difference. I don’t know – because it does?
Anyway, I had received our surf time the week before – 9:30 AM. We were advised to check in 45 minutes prior so that would be 8:45 AM. We still needed to go out and get breakfast so we were sitting in a coffeeshop at 7:30 AM. B did very well – we definitely did bring the LeapPad2 and he was able to stay at the table and watch a video on letters.
After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to get dressed. Husband and I debated whether we should bring beach gear as well – blankets, chairs, etc. We decided to head down to the site and if needed Husband can go back to the minivan.
Once we got to the site I checked B in and signed his liability waiver, we staked out a spot to sit. While the opening ceremony hadn’t started yet, there were plenty of people milling about. Husband decided to go back and grab a few things from the van while I stayed with the kids. B was definitely happy to play in the sand, and Mayita was happy to join him.
Of course, right at that moment, the organizers decided to start the camp with a prayer circle. I was not about to move the kids at that point, so we became enveloped in a large crescent of people. And then it poured – but luckily only for a few minutes. The kids didn’t seem fazed at it – so I decided not to fret either.
After that, they began the first round of campers. We hung out and I found my friend J and her son Z, who was also participating in the camp. We tried to get them to play together, but neither seemed to have interest in the other.
Finally, we got called to go. First, a nice volunteer matched a life jacket to B’s outfit (very important, you know, lol) and he got introduced to Britt who would escort him out to his surfer. No, I still do not know the surfer’s name – I never got a chance to get it, so we’ll call him “Surfer Dude”.
We were shooed away behind the line. This was a time for kids – no parents allowed. Was I worried and concerned? You bet your sweet bippy! While I know (rationally) that the surfers (all professional surfers) are trained to deal with a myriad of children on the spectrum, I was (irrationally) concerned that, somehow, they would not be prepared for B.
We watched as Surfer Dude took B out on the surfboard. We saw Surfer Dude paddle out, with B hanging on his back. They hung out in the calm water for a bit – I imagine Surfer Dude was trying to calm him down because in one of the pictures B looks concerned.
Then, Surfer Dude starts to paddle, stands up…and, well, this short clip will show you what happened next:
Like, holy shit, B was surfing. On Surfer Dude’s back, no less. And no wipeout!
The crowd cheered and we were definitely the loudest – shouting out B’s name and whatnot. He had a big grin on his face; he was so proud. I was so happy for him.
However, that “Magic Moment” was fleeting. Because right after that, B become overwhelmed. Guess the adrenaline from the wave got to him – he did not want to go out again. He made that abundantly clear to Surfer Dude with screeching and flailing arms. Which I had to swallow my pride and say, “ok B, if that’s all you can do, then that’s ok”. He got his medal and lei and scooted back under the caution tape back to me. Surfer Dude went on his way to be with another child.
And that was it.
We watched other kids take multiple rides, and I admit – I was sad and a bit jealous. I knew though that I couldn’t push B. If he got one ride, and wanted to play with sand the rest of the time, well, you have to respect that.
We still had a damn good time at the Camp. Later on, during vacation, B kept talking about surfing and the waves. He wanted me to play that clip over and over again. So, that’s good right?
We had to pack everything up shortly after to check out of the hotel room, go get the dog, and start our “real vacation”. The Camp continued, even through the monsoons that rolled in shortly after we left. My friend’s boy got to do his ride and had a blast as well, from what she told me.
I am in awe of what Izzy and Danielle have done with their Camps. It is amazing the amount of time, effort and manpower it takes to stage these Camps – and I want to say THANK YOU to them and Surfers Healing from the bottom of my heart for allowing us the chance to try and experience something that few “typical” people have ever experienced.
We definitely hope to do it again next year. I hope next year, now that he’s already done it and will be older – that he’ll have more than one ride.
Update: After I posted this on Twitter, Surfers Healing responded back!
So, B’s surfer was Josh Tracy. His grandfather, Terry “Tubesteak” Tracy, recently passed away. It’s a great honor to have Josh surf with B – and I hope he gets this post.