Florida is widely known across the globe for its more than 600 beautiful beaches, and the athletes of Special Olympics Florida love enjoying sports that the coastlines uniquely offer. Surfing is a fast-growing sport for Special Olympics Florida, and thanks to grants from Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation, several counties are able to have surfing programs for the first time this year or expand their current programs.
Special Olympics Florida – Duval County was one of the recipients of the foundation’s grants, and they were able to grow their surfing program by 27 percent as a result of the funds, including athletes in the 12-16 age range for the first time in the county. The surfers were able to have proper equipment, training, safety measures, and hours of fun in the water due to the grant.
Anthony, a 13-year-old athlete from Duval County was able to experience the joy of surfing for the first time this year thanks to the foundation’s generous gift. As part of a military family, Anthony has moved several times in his life from base to base and has always been shy as a result. However, he absolutely loves the water and became involved in Special Olympics swimming where he excelled.
Anthony was thrilled to be able to sign up for Special Olympics surfing this year and dove right into this new sport. At his first day of surfing, he was able to catch and ride his third wave. With a lean body type, fast legs, and a no-fear attitude, Anthony is a natural surfer. Participating in the sport has grown his confidence and brought him out of his shell. He looked forward to each practice and made many close friends while mastering the sport. At area games, Anthony showed off his new-found skills and took first place!
Special Olympics Florida is place where people of all abilities can demonstrate their best and grow in new and fun ways. Surfing is one of the ways that champions like Anthony are revealed and celebrated each day. Thank you to Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation for helping make experiences like Anthony’s possible.