We meet a lot of wonderful people through AccesSurf and this month we look forward to introducing you to a new AccesSurfer, Nathan Totman! In only a few months with AccesSurf he has become a big part of the ‘ohana sharing his positive vibes and passion for surfing…
Before 2016, Nathan was a big wave surfer, body builder, and was proud of how far he’d come, on his own. But after some health complications that led to a stroke, Nathan struggled through years of frustration, trying to find the proper support or push, to get back to doing what he loved. After several years, Nathan was determined to start taking back his life. In May of 2019, he was determined to get his license back, which was revoked after his stroke. In the process of this, someone he had worked with mentioned AccesSurf and our Adaptive Surf Competition.
Since then, he made it a goal for himself to get back to surfing and compete in a competition. Shortly after Nathan went to North Shore Prosthetics to get a knee brace and talked to Ted and Eric who gave him a AccesSurf flyer and told him to come to our “Day at the Beach” program. His first event with us was our September “Day at the Beach” and has come to almost every AccesSurf program since then.
He has been working with Ann Yoshida and AccesSurf instructors at our events, to focus on developing strength back in his left hand/arm/leg. During his first couple of experiences of surfing with us, he was advised to take it easy took it easy by riding tandem with our instructors. But by the third experience, he felt motivated to surf alone and even try to stand up on his own. The memories of surfing and the feelings of what he loved about it, started to flood back into his mind and heart. Through trial and error, Nathan started to realize that the other obstacle in his was finding the right board to help him with left side weakness.
Eric Welton, fellow adaptive surfer, mentor, and team leader offered him a personal board to try for this past November Day at the Beach. Having the support and push by Eric and AccesSurf, he felt confident paddling out into the lineup with the AccesSurf community.
This past Saturday, Nathan caught his first wave, standing up, since 2016.
Triumphant and stoked beyond belief, Nathan left our Day at the Beach feeling more excited than ever to continue pursuing what makes him happy.
Nathan said that when he thinks of AccesSurf he just smiles because he knows we are helping him get his life back. He expressed that he feels blessed for being a part of this community that pushes him to get better and he is excited for every event we have in the future. He wants to work hard to become a better athlete and one day compete with our Hawaii Adaptive Surf Team and represent Hawaii & AccesSurf. He even said that when he wins the gold, he will tell everyone “This is what AccesSurf did for me!”