Accessurf means passion for life,culture and connection with our community. I am happiest when I see people with physical and cognitive challenges connecting and feeling the healing power our Hawaiian Islands are surrounded by.
-Rich Julian, Co-Founder
A message from Mark Marble, Co-Founder of AccesSurf
Aloha AccesSurf ‘Ohana,
I am so excited, touched, and grateful to see the incredible progress and achievements that AccesSurf has accomplished in the past 15 years.
It’s remarkable to see the organization’s growth, especially when reflecting on our humble beginnings. We started with a just a small handful of passionate therapists and surfers who wanted to make a difference by providing a free and safe day at the beach for anyone who wishes to enjoy the beauty and healing energy of the ocean. As the months passed, friends told friends, volunteers invited others, and we quickly became an anticipated monthly event that filled many hearts with joy.
Over the years, participants and volunteers have enjoyed meeting new friends, experienced more freedom, and challenged themselves to further push their individual potential, which has changed their lives and the lives of others. A few marriages have even happened through AccesSurf!
Many have also gone on to achieve great things after experiencing the exhilarating freedom of the ocean. The heartwarming stories are endless:
- One gentleman, after surfing with us, decided to try more water sports and began training in prone paddle boarding. After a few years, he went on to successfully cross the Molokai channel three times and is the first-ever challenged athlete to reach this accomplishment!
- Another woman thought she would never surf again after an injury. She came to AccesSurf and it changed her life. She went on to become a three-time world surfing champion, competed at the 2016 Paralympics, and completed her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, utilizing her expertise to help AccesSurf participants.
- One of our kūpuna was in his 90s when his family reached out to us. Their request was simple: to help him join his friends at Ala Moana beach park, as he swam there every morning for close to 30 years. I have fond memories of helping him – we used the adaptive beach chair and connected his oxygen bottle to the back of the chair so that he could submerge his feet in the healing ocean and enjoy time with his family and friends. I’ll always remember their smiles and how it gave him peace during his last days with us.
I look forward to the next 15 years and the many lives that AccesSurf will continue to empower. It is my hope that the legacy of AccesSurf will continue to be its people uniting as one ‘ohana, helping one another unconditionally with aloha. We are after all connected by one ocean and it’s our privilege and kuleana to let everyone experience the healing essence and freedom of being in the ocean.
Mahalo Nui to everyone for your commitment to our people and selfless actions to empower others. Look forward to all the new blessings over the next 15 years to come.