From war zones to waves: Wounded soldiers arrive in Santa Cruz

via – KSWB


From war zones to waves: Wounded soldiers arrive in Santa Cruz

UPDATED 1:12 PM PDT Apr 23, 2012

Operation Surf



A soldier with one foot does a hand-stand while surfing off Cowell Beach during the 2011 Operation Surf.

Photo by Chris Elmenhurst


SANTA CRUZ, Calif. –


They spent the past decade fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan’s war zones, losing arms, legs and other limbs for their country.


The nine American soldiers who arrived in Santa Cruz on Monday are wounded from insurgent gunfire and bomb attacks. But they’re still inspired to live life to the fullest, and one local event, Operation Surf, helps them do just that.

The seventh annual event brings injured soldiers from the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to Surf City to learn how to catch a wave.

This week, professional surfers will dive into the ocean off Cowell Beach and teach soldiers how to surf one-on-one.

You won’t often hear groups of surfers cheering each other on, no matter how big the swell is. You are much more likely to hear a surfer growl, “yo bro, you stole my wave,” than, “hey great ride!”

However, when amputee soldiers with no legs, one leg, or no arms stand up on surfboards for the first time, bursts of cheers erupt from the awe-inspiring sight…




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