Local adaptive surfers fly out for US Championship

Adaptive Surf ProjectOne by one, the cars arrived at the Charleston International Airport, surfboards on top or stuffed into the back of vans. Four surfers, their caregivers, family, and support team, 18 total, backing up the line at the jetBlue counter as surfboards were pushed over the weight scales to counter employees.

Brock Johnson, the current ESA East Coast Champion, Veronica Tario, the current ASF East Coast Champion, Conway native Ernie Johnson, and Socastee High School rising junior Terrel Rawson left today for Oceanside, California to compete in the Surfing America, US Surfing Championships, adaptive assist division.

Travel for the crew was donated by jetBlue, with the local nonprofit, Adaptive Surf Project filling in the gaps in funding, including housing and on-the-ground transportation in San Diego.

1This is the third year in a row for Brock Johnson. He previously competed in the World Championships as part of Team USA in 2015, and last year finished 3rd in the US Championships held in Oceanside. Johnson competes, as all four athletes do, in the assist division, meaning he has an able bodied surfer out past the breakers with him, pushing him into the waves. A quadriplegic since a boating accident in 2011, Johnson most recently won the adaptive division of both the Cherry Grove Surfing Championship and the Salt Games Pro/Am.

Veronica Tario joined Johnson on his trip out west last year to compete, finishing 5th in the US Surfing Championship. Tario went on to win the Atlantic Surfing Federation East Coast Championship this past summer. She is also a quadriplegic after a similar accident, diving into shallow water in Murrells Inlet.

2.5This will be the first year competing on the national level for Conway’ native Ernie Johnson. Johnson began surfing during a Wheel to Surf event three years ago, riding tandem. He continuously progressed and now surfs in the adaptive assist division. Johnson finished 4th during the ASF East Coast Championships. A quadriplegic as well, he was injured on the football field during a preseason game while playing for Conway High School in 1997. Arriving at the airport in the early morning hours, Johnson was ready, “We’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I’m excited to have the opportunity to compete on the national stage.”

Socastee High School surfer Terrel Rawson will also be making his first leap to national competition. He recently won the tandem division of the Cherry Grove Surfing Championships and is also the reigning Atlantic Surfing Federation East Coast Champion, in the tandem division.

Adaptive Surf Project co-founder Brandon Bellegarde is excited to give the athletes the opportunity to shine, “Without the support of the community, these surfers may not get to experience travel like this,” he said. Rawson has only been on an airplane once before and this will be his first cross country trip. “The competition is just a small part of this. We’ll be in California for a week taking these surfers to different beaches, and other activities.”

ASF Director Luke Sharp estimates the total value of the trip at around $18,000. “With the money the volunteers will spend, our organization and the donations from jetBlue, it’s overwhelming to think about the love that has been shown to these athletes. We’re very grateful.”

Grand Strand Sports Report is traveling with the group this week as they travel, surf, and compete, with the national championship set for Wednesday, June 14th at the North Jetty in Oceanside, California.

4

Photos by Tyler Watkins and Luke Sharp

Comments

comments

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt preview

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt previewThe Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina announced today that [more]

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squad

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squadCoastal Carolina had only one player named to the 2017 [more]

CCU taps Oklahoma coach to lead men's golf program

CCU taps Oklahoma coach to lead men's golf programJim Garren, who helped Oklahoma to three straight NCAA Championship [more]

Effross tosses gem to give Pelicans doubleheader split

Effross tosses gem to give Pelicans doubleheader splitMyrtle Beach fell 5-3 in game one of Thursday's doubleheader, [more]

App State picked first; CCU last in Sun Belt football poll

App State picked first; CCU last in Sun Belt football pollThe Appalachian State Mountaineers are the favorites to win the [more]

'The Blind Side' story takes turn as Panthers cut Oher

'The Blind Side' story takes turn as Panthers cut OherThe Carolina Panthers released offensive tackle Michael Oher, the subject [more]

Former CCU player Jordan returns as assistant coach

Former CCU player Jordan returns as assistant coachCoastal Carolina head women’s basketball coach Jaida Williams announced Wednesday [more]

Panthers rehire Hurney to fill general manager post

Panthers rehire Hurney to fill general manager postThe Carolina Panthers turned to a familiar face to fill [more]

Hodges' grand slam lifts Pelicans to rare series win

Hodges' grand slam lifts Pelicans to rare series winJesse Hodges' grand slam in the sixth inning of Tuesday's [more]

Clemson picked to finish behind FSU for ACC title

Clemson picked to finish behind FSU for ACC titleClemson football coach Dabo Swinney spent the offseason trying to [more]

Mutiny set for PDL Eastern Conference Championship

Mutiny set for PDL Eastern Conference ChampionshipThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny will carry a 10-game undefeated streak [more]

Panthers fire GM Gettleman week before training camp

Panthers fire GM Gettleman week before training campThe Carolina Panthers fired general manager Dave Gettleman after four [more]

Rucker tosses another gem as Pelicans split double dip

Rucker tosses another gem as Pelicans split double dipMike Rucker dominated in the finale of Monday's de facto [more]

Weather plagues Pelicans for second straight game

Weather plagues Pelicans for second straight gameMyrtle Beach and Buies Creek both scored a run in [more]

MB's Grigg continues hot summer with national title

MB's Grigg continues hot summer with national titleWhen Holden Grigg returns to Myrtle Beach High this fall, [more]

Former Chant Wilson nets deal in Austrian pro league

Former Chant Wilson nets deal in Austrian pro leagueFormer Coastal Carolina University basketball standout Elijah Wilson, the third [more]

Winston-Salem rallies past Pelicans in seventh inning

Winston-Salem rallies past Pelicans in seventh inningVimael Machin's home run was not enough Friday as the [more]

Pelicans fall to familiar foes following blockbuster trade

Pelicans fall to familiar foes following blockbuster tradeIn a game that saw three Myrtle Beach Pelicans relocate [more]

Tigers tap Terry as interim coach pending Jordan case

Tigers tap Terry as interim coach pending Jordan caseLongtime Conway High assistant football coach Carlton Terry has been [more]

Mutiny put finishing touch on near-perfect campaign

Mutiny put finishing touch on near-perfect campaignThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny turned in a perfect ending to [more]

Rucker flirts with no-hitter as Pelicans shut out Dash

Rucker flirts with no-hitter as Pelicans shut out DashMike Rucker twirled seven shutout innings Wednesday to help lead [more]

Ex-Chant Morrison returns to Strand as Dash reliever

Ex-Chant Morrison returns to Strand as Dash relieverFormer Coastal Carolina University right-handed pitcher Mike Morrison returns to [more]

St. James' Knaffle verbally commits to South Carolina

St. James' Knaffle verbally commits to South CarolinaSt. James High golfer Smith Knaffle has had a busy [more]

Lady Chiefs JV coach Smith earns promotion to varsity

Lady Chiefs JV coach Smith earns promotion to varsityThe North Myrtle Beach High girls basketball program knew there [more]

Pelicans come from behind to win seesaw series finale

Pelicans come from behind to win seesaw series finaleZack Short reached base six times and finished a triple [more]

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt preview

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt previewThe Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina announced today that [more]

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squad

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squadCoastal Carolina had only one player named to the 2017 [more]

Comments are closed.

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