Veteran surfers, helping veterans surf. That is the mission of Operation Amped.
Founded in 2006 by a group of surfers who wanted to do more than shout at CNN, Operation Amped is a group of concerned, dedicated surfers who believe that the ocean is an essential part of the rehabilitation process, to restore the body and souls of men and women injured during wartime.
The veterans who benefit from Operation Amped come from wars as far back as Vietnam, and as recent as Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Shot up, blown up, sniped, ambushed, paralyzed, traumatized, some of the scars of war are visible but other scars are not. Many of these veterans are permanently disabled - their lives have been changed forever - and after years of hospitalization and therapy, they thought they would never again do something as thrilling as ride waves in the ocean.
Throughout the year, Operation Amped puts on surf events that range in duration from one day to a week. At these events, vets who've been wounded have the chance to get free of the constraints that illness or injury has imposed on them. Many have never set foot on a surfboard. Many have never set foot in the ocean. Some can't even swim. But with the support of this grassroots effort, everyone has fun.
Among our team are number are retired servicemen, former world champion surfers such as Shaun Tomson, and even agents from one of Hollywood's top talent agencies.
At one of the Operation Amped events in the summer of 2008, a Veteran looked at his brothers and sisters going over the falls, wiping out and riding waves and said: "There haven't been this many soldiers, Marines and sailors flailing in the shorebreak since the invasion of Normandy."
But he was smiling when he said it and that is the point of Operation Amped: The ocean is strong and has the power to heal. NEED A FINAL LINE