Athlete of the Week: Tario earns East Coast surf title

Veronica Tario

The East Coast Adaptive Surfing Championship trophy was so heavy that when our Athlete of the Week hoisted it above her head in classic celebration style, she flipped her wheelchair backwards, landing in the sand, laughing.

Veronica Tario, known as “Roni” to her friends, was crowned the very first East Coast champion, of the adaptive surfing division, at the Atlantic Surfing Federation’s (ASF) season ending event in Sebastian Inlet, Florida.

Fellow competitor Brock Johnson was just edged out in the final seconds by Tario. “They were tough conditions,” said Johnson. “The water was rough, and the waves were big. She was able to get two big ones, and that’s what you need.”

ASF Executive Director Phil Jackson added the adaptive surf division this year after seeing success at the local level, “Roni’s good. She took some bombs outside and rode them all the way in. She was carving up the waves in tough conditions and deserved the title.”

That chair tipping trophy now sits proudly on the very first mantle when you walk into her home. “It feels great, and incredibly humbling,” said Tario. “I think we all deserved the trophy that day. That was one of the toughest surf comps that I’ve ever done.”

The waves at Sebastian Inlet on that early November Sunday were 6 to 7 foot on the faces, manageable to an experienced, standing surfer. But, Tario doesn’t ride standing up. “Four years ago, I was out at a bar and decided to go swimming. I jumped off the back deck in 18 inches of water.” Tario is a quadriplegic with spinal cord injuries to C6 & C7 vertebrae.

Tario attended a Life Rolls On event in Wrightsville Beach at the invitation of Johnson, and fell in love with the sport. “I love it because it’s a way to get out of the chair. Feeling that sense of normalcy is very freeing,” she said. “One of the biggest things, there is a lot of stress that comes along with the injury and surfing is the best stress reliever and medicine that I’ve found. It’s a great escape.”

Tario’s competitive nature gets a workout as well; she’s competed and traveled as far as California, and along the East Coast. A team of surfers work with Tario in and out of the water. Her coach, Jim Holland has seen the progress over the last few years, “She was pretty rad in the California competition, but since then she’s begun to get into even bigger waves. She’s more aggressive, she’s fine tuning her carves, and she’s started to paddle on her own. That’s been a huge game changer, in helping her to get outside.”

Tario surfs in the adaptive assist division, meaning that Holland swims out with her and helps push her into the waves while teammates Vann Horne, Daniel Woolley, Ana Mellone, and Richard Thompson assist on the inside. “I always tell her that she is the mind, I am the body, and together we are the soul that creates that surfer. It takes all of that for it to work,” says Holland.

Bringing the trophy home to Myrtle Beach has inspired Tario, “It made me feel like I’m finally a competitive athlete.” Any doubters can just look on the mantle near her front door. Gleaming back at them will be the words East Coast Champion.

-Photo by Brady Beck

Comments

comments

Cardiac Sharks strike again in 10-inning win over Foxes

Cardiac Sharks strike again in 10-inning win over FoxesJust when you thought it was safe to face St. [more]

Golf: Seahawks top Chiefs; Sharks finish off rival Braves

Golf: Seahawks top Chiefs; Sharks finish off rival BravesRegular-season region championships in golf are more about bragging rights [more]

Softball: Tigers, Sharks hit postseason as No. 1 seeds

Softball: Tigers, Sharks hit postseason as No. 1 seedsThe SCHSL softball playoffs open Thursday with five local teams [more]

Lady Chiefs run away with fourth straight region title

Lady Chiefs run away with fourth straight region titleThe North Myrtle Beach girls track team won the Region [more]

Soccer: Braves sweep MB; Gordon lifts Lady Seahawks

Soccer: Braves sweep MB; Gordon lifts Lady SeahawksThe Socastee High boys soccer team used a big second-half [more]

Golf: NMB aces St. James, faces MB for region crown

Golf: NMB aces St. James, faces MB for region crownNorth Myrtle Beach used a balanced scoring effort to claim [more]

Lady Sharks' magical run ends in Lower State final

Lady Sharks' magical run ends in Lower State finalThe St. James High girls lacrosse team took giant leaps [more]

Softball: Seahawks shut out Socastee in playoff tuneup

Softball: Seahawks shut out Socastee in playoff tuneupThe Myrtle Beach softball team closed out the regular season [more]

NMB's Hudson headlines all-region girls soccer list

NMB's Hudson headlines all-region girls soccer listRegion 7-4A girls soccer champion Myrtle Beach and runner-up St. [more]

Chants' bats, pitching wake up to rally past The Citadel

Chants' bats, pitching wake up to rally past The CitadelCoastal Carolina allowed four runs in the first inning, but [more]

Baseball: MB rides Bodge's hot bat, arm to playoff win

Baseball: MB rides Bodge's hot bat, arm to playoff winMyrtle Beach's Cameron Bodge may be best known for his [more]

CCU's Ruiz makes playoff; Chants seventh at Sun Belt

CCU's Ruiz makes playoff; Chants seventh at Sun BeltCoastal Carolina sophomore Luis Ruiz turned in the low round [more]

Chants blow late lead, lose series to Georgia Southern

Chants blow late lead, lose series to Georgia SouthernGeorgia Southern scored a run in the seventh and two [more]

Beach United, Coast FA net Coast Spring Classic crowns

Beach United, Coast FA net Coast Spring Classic crownsThree Grand Strand-based teams captured championships in their respective division [more]

Pelicans rally in ninth inning to shoot down Wood Ducks

Pelicans rally in ninth inning to shoot down Wood DucksThe Pelicans rallied for two in the seventh and four [more]

Coastal off to top-five start at Sun Belt Championship

Coastal off to top-five start at Sun Belt ChampionshipThe Coastal Carolina men’s golf team posted a 6-over par [more]

Baseball: Panthers, Sharks make late push for playoffs

Baseball: Panthers, Sharks make late push for playoffsWhoever said "It's not how you start, but how you [more]

Eagles top Chants in extras, set up series rubber match

Eagles top Chants in extras, set up series rubber matchBoth Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina scored a run in [more]

Soccer: Seahawks defeat Chiefs to claim region title

Soccer: Seahawks defeat Chiefs to claim region titleThe Myrtle Beach High soccer team didn't want to worry [more]

Baseball: NMB spoils MB's hopes for sweep of region

Baseball: NMB spoils MB's hopes for sweep of regionThe North Myrtle Beach High baseball team rallied for five [more]

Chants 'Cooke' up defense to down Georgia Southern

Chants 'Cooke' up defense to down Georgia SouthernGeorgia Southern’s ninth-inning come-back fell one run short thanks to [more]

Lacrosse: Lady Sharks rally to reach Lower State Final

Lacrosse: Lady Sharks rally to reach Lower State FinalPerhaps THE sports story of the spring sports season is [more]

Tennis: Seahawks complete clean sweep for region title

Tennis: Seahawks complete clean sweep for region titleThe Myrtle Beach High boys tennis team put the finishing [more]

Softball: Sharks top Tigers; Chiefs surge past Panthers

Softball: Sharks top Tigers; Chiefs surge past PanthersThe St. James girls softball team won a local showdown [more]

Golf: Chiefs win tri-match; Lady Sharks hit Statehouse

Golf: Chiefs win tri-match; Lady Sharks hit StatehouseThe two-time defending Class 4A champion St. James High girls [more]

Cardiac Sharks strike again in 10-inning win over Foxes

Cardiac Sharks strike again in 10-inning win over FoxesJust when you thought it was safe to face St. [more]

Golf: Seahawks top Chiefs; Sharks finish off rival Braves

Golf: Seahawks top Chiefs; Sharks finish off rival BravesRegular-season region championships in golf are more about bragging rights [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach