How Surfing Helped Quadriplegic Heal

a woman smiling
Curated by
Denile Doyle
Content via In The News
In The News
Curated by
Denile Doyle

As a young adult, Barney was involved in a car accident that left him a quadriplegic. Before his accident, Barney loved surfing, and even after his accident, he knew he would surf again.

At first Barney was determined to surf upright again: “I had it in my head that the only way I could surf again was standing up,” he recalls.

Barney acknowledged that his frustration stemmed from how much he missed being in the water, and he concluded that returning to the ocean in any position was ultimately more important than waiting to surf standing again.

“I think part of my frustration was, I just missed surfing. It’s just such an amazing thing … a healing thing.”

quadriplegic surfer

Barney’s friends and family helped him find enjoyment in surfing again, with the help of a customised surfboard. 

They planned the best way to achieve Barney’s surfing experience, including the particulars of maneuvering Barney and his board, and procedures to ensure Barney’s safety if something went wrong.   

Barney recognised the importance of revisiting his passion for surfing as a healing experience, so he pushed his fears aside and went for it. 

“There’s definitely things that could go wrong out there … but that’s where I had to do the push through and live my life again, because this is what was going to help me keep sane and not take things for granted.”

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