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Surfing Laguna: Operation Amped rides into Trestles

The scene at Trestles last weekend was summertime at its best. There was plenty of sunshine, fun surf and of course people soaking in every drop of great California summer days.

Joining the party at this particular stretch of sand was a group of volunteers from the Operation Amped organization, whose aim is to get our wounded American warriors out in the surf, riding waves.

Most of the warriors participating were amputees who also are dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and certainly were excited about a weekend with surfing filling the agenda.

“Surfing isn’t super easy to do but it’s really fun trying to get it down,” said Thomas McBride, who was able to surf and skate with one leg. “This is a great day to just enjoy the waves and act like a kid again.”

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Twelve-year-old Laguna surfer and volunteer Willy Hogan was using his surfing knowledge to help the young veterans into just the right peaks for some smooth rides.

“This is my second year helping out and it’s become one of my favorite weekends of the year,” Willy said. “I love to see these guys’ faces when they catch waves, they remind me of groms!”

Also lending a hand was longtime Laguna local Jimmy Hall, who was busy chatting with several of the warriors who weren’t quite ready to hit the waves, but wanted to enjoy the festivities from a safe distance on shore.

“Some of the young guys are still getting used to day to day life and adjusting to all the therapy and things that come with it,” he said. “I really enjoyed talking, laughing and sharing stories with these young guys, it was a good thing.”

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For more information on how to get involved helping American heroes and to see photos from the event check out www.operationamped.com.


CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at chris@soulsurfingschool.com or (949) 497-5918.


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