Wounded Warrior Project and VB Surf Sessions hosts adaptive surfing lessons

WAVY Photo/Marielena Balouris

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – It was a beautiful day across Hampton Roads, and many people took advantage of the weather to get out on the water, including the Wounded Warrior Project.  They partnered with Virginia Beach Surf Sessions to take veterans out on the water.

In the middle of the chaotic waves, these wounded warriors have a chance to find peace.

“They take us out on the water and they work with us kind of one on one and show us what to do,” said Luke Sanford, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines.  On his last tour, he was hit by an IED.

Now, for Sanford, surfing with his fellow veterans is a kind of therapy.  He said, “You get to experience something that you may not normally get yourself to step outside of your element and do.”

This was his second time surfing with the Wounded Warrior Project.  They’ve teamed up with Virginia Beach Surf Sessions to make it all happen.  They’re giving these veterans a chance to come together and work through their challenges — whether on or off the surfboard.

“You kind of have that connection with that other veteran,” said Taniki Richard, who also served in Iraq as a Marine.  The first time she hit the waves, she says she learned just as much about life as she did about surfing.

“Sometimes the waves may hit you hard and you wipe out,” said Richard.  “But like out here, they taught us to pop back up on the board and try again and that’s what I do with my life.”