Over 200 volunteers and 40 adaptive surfers headed to Carolina Beach for the Life Rolls On free surfing event. From 9 am to 3 pm, paraplegic men and women had the opportunity to get on a surf board and ride a wave, many for the first time.
"A lot of able bodied people just get to the beach, walk to the water, and never really think about how they are going to get there," explained Jesse Billaure, owner of Life Rolls On and a paraplegic himself.
One by one, men and women were hoisted from their wheelchairs to their surfboard. One of those participants was Rachel Friedman, a C6 quadra-paraplegic. She can no longer use her fingers or legs due to an accident from her bachelorette party five years ago.
"There are still things for me to do," Friedman explained. "I can still be happy and still have fun."
One of those fun things is surfing.
"It's so awesome being out there because you feel normal," Friedman said. "It's surfing, just you in the water on the board."
Friedman said it's events like these that make her feel like part of a community. Billaure could not agree more.
"It's not just about the surfing. That's what brings us here," he said. "The real thing is what goes on behind the scenes and the relationships that are built."
Billaure hopes to keep expanding his organization to reach more communities and more paraplegics across the country.
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