By John Curtis
Mana ascended from the heart of over 200 hundred participants, volunteers, and supporters, circling Meira Durate as she sang a mele oli chant to commemorate the 1st Annual “One Ocean, Surf Therapy Fest”. Then the Founder of AccesSurf, Mark Marble, stepped center circle: “Everyone down shift!” – his way of saying, let’s have some fun!
The 1st Annual event brought together different organizations such as Wounded Warriors, along with various sponsors to celebrate the 10th year of AccesSurf’s non-profit, grassroots contribution to the community. Kala Alexander, Vice President of Mauli Ola Foundation, said that the goal was “to help guide the younger generation.”
The line-up was crowded, dotted with pink, red, green – each color signified a specific duty for volunteers – and a handful of Uncles sat out the back, patiently waiting and blocking for the participants.
Events like this one on White Plains Beach were established to help educate, empower, and bring joy to those with all types of disabilities: Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Paralysis, amputees. KP, a participant, held an endearing sense of appreciation. He felt it to be a “blessing” surrounded by so many great people – he wasn’t necessarily talking about the Moniz brothers, Makua Rothman, Eli Olson, or Kala Alexander – though, he was amazed of their selflessness. No, he was grateful for everyone that gave without reserve.
The One Ocean, Surf Therapy Fest brought so many great hearts out to preserve the community. Like Makua said, “it’s honoring for these people to let me take them surfing…this is what I’m suppose to do.”