Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00
Individuals who haven’t surfed in years due to spinal cord injuries that left them paralyzed will be able to get on to surfboards at Long Beach thanks to an organization called Wheels2Water. Dozens of volunteers are needed to help paralyzed surfers out of their wheelchairs and onto specially designed surfboards. The Wheels2Water event takes place starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12 at National Blvd. in Long Beach. Interested volunteers should contact Anthony Testaverde at 516-729-1061. A second event is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 23 at Lido Beach.
“Life’s not over after a spinal cord injury,” says Joe Testaverde, who lost the use of his legs and has limited use of his hands after a backyard diving accident and in whose honor the Testaverde Fund was established. “With the help of volunteers, these paralyzed athletes will get out of their wheelchairs and prepare for the most exhilarating ride of their lives. It’s about getting out and riding a wave. It’s about enjoying life and not letting a disability cripple you.”
Wheels 2 Water, a project of the not-for-profit Testaverde Fund for Spinal Cord Injury, provides specially equipped surfboards with handles and leg bumpers. Two wheelchairs with dune buggy tires transport the athletes from the boardwalk across the sand to the sea and each participant wears a special life vest with attached scuba tanks for safety. The goal of Wheels2Water is to help provide physically disabled individuals with the opportunity to enjoy the recreational and therapeutic benefits of water sports in order to improve their overall quality of life and health.