Before making claims of giant hacks or reveling over stellar cutbacks, your position on a surfboard was that of any other beginner; a person being taken for a ride. Soon after, the ocean's gravitational pull sucked you into some sort of vortex, solidifying your need for waves and creating the healthiest addiction on the planet. Volunteers with the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation have used this positive knowledge to spread the infectious feeling brought on by riding waves, sharing the joy of surfing and the ocean's abilities to heal those in need. By working with those who've experienced different types of injury and trauma, the good people at the Jimmy Miller Foundation have brought a pure surfing experience to those who may have otherwise been unable to obtain that stoke.
With a caravan of volunteers in suit, we made our way to the access-restricted DMJ's to provide injured Marines with surfboards, instruction, and camaraderie in and out of water. Along for the ride were Ventura's Timmy Curran and San Clemente's Mike Losness, fresh off the San Clemente train tracks whilst in the making of Timmy's new film "Union Express." Timmy and Mike didn't care to play the sideline card, as both took an active part in pre-shred stretches, surf camp-esque pushes and a surplus of high-fives. Look for documentation of their day at Pendleton when the film premieres this fall.
Being at the beach seemed to leave everyone reminiscing over the reasons they started surfing and reinforced the reasons why we still do. Sitting in a circle of marines who've easily transcended from battle grounds to beaches, conversations were made and friendships initiated over the simple act of surfing. "It still feels like yesterday," said Curran of his first lengthy ride at San Onofre.
Among the many who got their hands sandy on behalf of the Foundation were Jimmy's parents Jim and Nancy Miller, Director of Operations Carly Rogers, Surfrider's Ronnie del Valle, longtime surfing legend Jeff "Peff" Eick and many dedicated others. The JMMF spends several days a year with the Wounded Warriors, instilling the mantra that learning to surf is only the beginning of a feeling that lasts a lifetime.