Meira has been a part of our ‘ohana for so long, it’s hard to remember a time without her. Her personality is bigger than her hair (yes, BIGGER) and her spirit is so contagious. Although she will say time and time again that AccesSurf changed her life, it is quite the opposite for us. We have been so blessed to have her as a coach and mentor for adaptive athletes.
She holds the World Champion title in Women’s Wave Ski amongst many other awards. We are proud to have this incredible mother and mana wahine as a part of our family.
Lets hear from Meira herself:
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Meira Va’a Nelson. I’m married with 4 kids. I’ve been a Para Athlete since 2004, 3 yrs after my accident in 2001.
How and when you did you hear about Accessurf.
I first heard of AccesSurf from my Para Canoeing team mates at Pure Light Canoe Club in 2011.My first DATB with AccesSurf was one I will always remember. I remember feeling so intimidated that morning, because I told its always a big day, theres a lot of people and way bigger than our Canoe Team. When I walked up to the check-in tent, I was greeted with some of the biggest smile and warm hugs that I have never seen and felt before. It was an instant sense of Belonging and I felt so Welcomed and Accepted to be a part of there Ohana. The Aloha was everywhere and felt it throughout that day. It was that 1st Saturday in August 2011 I discovered and learned to surf for the first time. And 2 weeks later I was surfing at Dukes Oceanfest and that was wild and so fun.
What does AccesSurf mean to you?
AccesSurf means everything to me. They became an addition to my little Ohana. They restored a lot of confidence in myself, they gave me opportunities to really reach for, as an Athlete. I really wouldn’t be where I am without them. All the staffs, the volunteers at AccesSurf, their support throughout the years made me the AASP World Tour Champion of Women’s Waveski 2022. It’s forever an honor to represent my AccesSurf Hawaii community.
What is your favorite AccesSurf memory?
So many favorites. But the one that stood out was 2015 at the first ISA World Para Surfing in San Diego LA Jolla. AccesSurf pioneered the first ever WORLD Para Surfing on how to assist Challenged Athletes in and out the water. It was like another DATB but with 30 somewhat countries involved, and over 120 participants. I remember feeling so proud to be a part of history and to be with Accessurf representing Hawaii at the inaugural ISA Para Surfing. We talked and shared so much about it on social media after we returned home. It was definitely memories I cant wait to share with my grandkids and great great grandkids.
Anything you would like to share with our AccesSurf ‘ohana?
As I’m moving on with the next chapter of my life with my husband and kids to the mainland I feel a bit sad that I’m leaving my people at AccesSurf, but I also feel so humbled and excited that everything they taught and blessed me with, the Aloha, the support, help and confidence, That I will carry with me and I can’t wait to pay it forward to someone with disability in Boise Idaho. I love each and everyone of them and I want to Thank each and everyone of you for everything you’ve done for me and my family and especially my Surfing journey. I am forever grateful to Cara, and her team of amazing staff, to the founders Rich Julian and Mark Marbles for starting it all. Mahalo nui loa from the bottom of my heart.