Warrior Surf Foundation teaches more than just surfing


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Warrior Surf Foundation teaches military families and Veterans how to surf, but more than its name implies is how it integrates community leadership and adaptive services.

Soon after beginning their 2020 surf clinic season, Warrior Surf Foundation quickly enacted plans to guarantee the safety of its program participants, staff members and volunteers. For the first time since the organization’s launch in 2015, Warrior Surf Foundation is conducting wellness and yoga programs virtually to promote physical distancing.

Yoga offered at a distance

Warrior Surf now offers virtual yoga sessions. This has expanded its business and allowed staff and members to stay in touch. Its new practice also includes wellness sessions (every Wednesday at 1 pm) that are HIPAA compliant, ensuring participant privacy and confidentiality. Each week, Warrior Surf Foundation’s Wellness Director, Jordan Watkins – who also serves as co-chair of the Lowcountry Veterans Engagement Team Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB) – hosts wellness sessions that are free and open to the public.

“Wellness is such an important concept for anyone and everyone right now, whether you are a Veteran or civilian. These are uncertain times, and no one has a playbook for how to live through times like these. The one thing that Warrior Surf Foundation knows best is community, and we want to share that with the rest of the world.” -Jordan Watkins, Wellness Director, Warrior Surf Foundation

The Foundation’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, Andy Manzi, shares a similar sentiment by constantly reminding his staff to take care of themselves just as much as they care for the Veterans and families in their programs.

Recently, Warrior Surf staff took a few creative liberties to inspire its social media followers: it recorded short videos, “The WSF Quarantine Chronicles,” of staff surfing in unusual places while practicing social distancing. You can find these videos on Warrior Surf’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

WSF Surf Clinic in Action

12-week surf clinic

Warrior Surf’s clinic program consists of 12 weeks of one-on-one surf lessons, wellness sessions, and blended yoga instruction that includes both individual and group classes. Surf lessons cover technical skills, including how to ride, read, and master the unpredictable waves of Folly Beach.

Wellness sessions cover a wide range of topics that promote resilience, stress management and emotional distress tolerance. Participants begin the program by selecting the most critical areas of their lives and work with a trained Wellness Coach. Working with the Wellness Coach, participants learn coping skills within a program informed by positive psychology and evolutionary psychology.

The wellness program is overseen by a licensed social worker, who is also the spouse of a combat Veteran. A registered yoga teacher with over 200 hours of training oversees the yoga program. This activity allows Veterans to benefit from the physical, mental and spiritual gains seen from regular yoga practice.

Assisting the community with PPE

Adapting to the pandemic and continuing its community service mission, Warrior Surf Foundation is supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) to first responders in the Tri-County area. A few times a week, donated PPE will be picked up from local businesses and taken to a central storage location for distribution to hospitals, nursing homes, homeless camps, and other areas of significant need. Vantage Point Foundation (VPF) – a partner non-profit organization serving the Veteran and Military community and leading member of the Lowcountry Community Veterans Engagement Board – is assisting with the pickup and distribution of the PPE collected as a result of this effort, further highlighting the ingrained community service.

It’s no surprise that during these challenging times Warrior Surf Foundation is continuing to live its values. Supporting their over-burdened healthcare, fire, law enforcement and countless other front-line sisters and brothers is just what they do. As its founder Andy Manzi says, “Sometimes you have to stop making automobiles and make tanks. We’re all here to do our part.”


Douglas Webb is a Coast Guard Veteran and member of the Veterans Experience Office. 

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Lenora Early    

    Totally agree with comment on Pre-9/11. I donate for Veterans programs for all Veterans. I have PTSD due to from my time in service. Yet I don’t have same benefits

  2. Aldo Dagioortega    

    This would be everything! It’s so far from California though! I bet there is a way we can expand this program all over the U.S. with fellow veterans. I, for one, love the concept of this organization and would love to try it out. I would love to bring my girlfriend too, if possible!

  3. Thomas Romero    

    Who is the POC for the Surf Clinics in Southern California?

  4. Curtis H. Brittle    

    Hello Worrier Surf [Andrew Manzi] Well, I have a brother in NC, near Wrightsville beach, and was wondering if you have any surf activities near by . . I am a YOGA INSTRUCTOR in Hatha Yoga, and the owner of a HANSEN V BOTTOM PINTAIL BOARD That has mold growing on it . . Yeah . . been a while since I hit the waves . . stuck here in Waterford Michigan . looking to move back east etc. So. If you have any info . . Glad to help etc. I was a QUATERMASTER NAVIGATION and a member of the NASA APOLLO 9 recovery Mission [USS GUADALCANAL LPH-7] and A MINISTER for the CHRISTADELPHIANS WORLDWIDE ARSK/chb
    Thanks for the info
    Curtis B.

    1. Heather Akers, MSW    

      I would most definitely join in, as well as, include the Student Veterans Association at NC State if an event could be created in NC!

  5. Roy Starbeck    

    Anything on the west coast?

  6. jared finkel    

    How do I join a surf camp?

  7. GEORGE HAWES    

    It was good to see comments from other Socal people. Don’t see much from the VA in Socal. Thanks Scott & Paula. I’m a Viet Vet, I surfed in the early 1960’s. Had to stop, so I started riding a belly-board, and bodysurfing with fins. I still can judge a wave. Would like meet other Socal vets to surf, Now that some are open.

  8. Richmond B Neff Jr    

    Dear “Disappointed”,
    I am sorry to read of your dissatisfaction with VA service. I think that maybe you are referring to the Warrior Surf Foundation’s services in this particular case. I have had no intercourse with this program other than having just seen the word of its existence online. So, I cannot comment.

    But, I CAN comment on my experiences with the VA in Rochester, NY.

    I was “fired” summarily by my CIVILIAN REPLACEMENT Primary Care Provider on 12 February 2020. This doctor was a new CIVILIAN who was relieving my former CIVILIAN PROVIDER. I think maybe it was the occasion of this new CIVILIAN doctor’s first practice.
    MY predecessor CIVILIAN Provider, had virtually kept track of every facet of not only my medical life for 13 years but also the medical life of my wife for 7 years.
    This PREDECESSOR left this Clinic for another position.

    I had NEVER even seen this REPLACEMENT doctor who was taking the place of the PREDECESSOR.
    This new doctor fired me before I had ever seen her for the first time.
    Her reason was: I complained about the treatment I received from her nurse during a visit to her office for a Shingrix vaccination.
    I was thereupon told to go find another Primary Care Provider.

    I went immediately on the same day, 12 February, to the Rochester, NY VA.
    I wandered into the VA Office to learn how I could sign up for Primary Geriatric Care. I first went to the wrong office.
    But I was personally escorted to the proper office.
    From moment I entered the VA Office, I have received only the utmost in genuine consideration and sincere desire to provide superb treatment at the Rochester, NY Office.

    I was immediately assigned a Primary Care doctor with a team of assistants.

    Service by the Pharmacist could not have been more kind.
    The civilian doctor had even notified me that certain of my prescriptions would not be supported by that office.
    Indeed, instead of submitting my bill through customary Medicare and Tricare channels for insurance attention, the bill for the Shingrix vaccination was sent to me to pay. I figured it out after a week of research online and several phone calls.

    I regularly now receive all prescription and non-prescription medications by mail to my home from the VA.

    In this era of COVID-19, I was seen by my newly assigned Primary Care Doctor by an online video portal.

    President Trump has been a tremendous boost to the VA and the service that it provides, IMHO.

    Dear Disappointed, you might talk to your local VA Advocate about your disappointments and problems.
    My VA Advocate here has been most sympathetic and helpful.

    Richmond.

  9. Dennis J. Hamilton    

    I would really like to know more about the surf lessons. I’m not very good on the internet though. Thanks

    1. DCMatthews    

      Services have gone downhill even before Covid completely closed them and Choice that was helpful has been replaced by a Trump Community care program that local docs won’t participate in and has a messed up chain of care. Seems Trump’s Wilkie isn’t providing the leadership and progress Bob McDonald was.

  10. Bart Benjamin    

    Where in the Cleveland, OH would I start taking YOGA classes? I saw no directions or instructions as to who to contact?
    Look forward to knowing the details.

  11. Chelle    

    If you are interested in the Warrior Surf Foundation’s services, to to their website at https://www.warriorsurf.org/services.

  12. Disappointed Vet    

    The VA is always a disappointment and this is also, All kinds of great stuff but no info on how to obtain it. Pathetic! I deployed three times and the war didn’t cause my PTSD, the VA did in 1 month of dealing with them. I should file a claim against dealing with them.

  13. Chongin Yun    

    How do I sign Warrior surf?
    When and where is next lesson?
    Thank you

  14. Faith Nealy    

    I am interested in your Warrior surf clinic but I noticed that you didn’t provide any sign up information. Which leads me to wonder….was this article just a way of promotion and advertising your brand or are you actually going to provide this service to your veteran and military community?

  15. Andrew Palagyi    

    https://www.warriorsurf.org/ is their website. All information on support, joining, and whens and wheres are there.
    Donate to them if you can they need your support. Thanks!

  16. Thomas DeAngelis    

    I didn’t see how to sign up and who is eligible for the surf lessons.

  17. Miranda Dennielle Durham    

    How do I apply for the 12 week surf clinic?

  18. David D Cajiuat    

    I am a veteran here in Clairemont and is it true I and my family can get surf lessons?

    1. Sharon Spradling    

      has anybody answered your question? i would also like to know how I get into this surf program

  19. Dennis J. Hamilton    

    I would love to do this once we are aloud to!

  20. Koko Pandit    

    How do I join Warrior surf foundation please?Thanks

  21. kenneth crawford    

    I’m interested in how this will go 3 months what’s the cost and living arrangements , I would love to learn different ways to cope, and would love to learn how to surf, I’m 47, and recently retired going to barbering school everything is on hold because of obvious reasons, let me know thanks

  22. Scott McGregor    

    I am a 1969 Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club member, a Surfer and twin of the SURF Art Pioneer in So Cal who created all the Hang Ten and Lightning Bolt T shirts worldwide. I have lots of stories about surfing legend friends and Surf art I’d like to share to whomever is interested.

    1. Andrew Palagyi    

      Folly Beach is east of Charleston, SC on the eastern coast of the United States. There is a fishing pier and lots to do in that area.

  23. LAURENCE SEE    

    Surf camp sounds great! Any camps in So. Calif??

  24. Jon A Griffin    

    How do I get a hold of them? Semper P from a Black Hull sailor 🙂

  25. John T Grant    

    how do i sign up for this surf camp?

  26. Monica Duff    

    How could I become a yoga teacher for the Warrior Surf Foundation? I’m a veteran in the US Air Force with a mission to help out my fellow battle Buddies. Just another I want to give back and help others find freedom like I did through yoga.

  27. Douglas C Charnock, Jr    

    This is great!
    However, I only received this email at 6:30 p.m. and missed your online session which was at 2.
    Can you send out the video sometime later?
    I have not surfed in many years due to my injuries and would love to try anything to do it again.
    Thanks

  28. Glenn David knight    

    When are your next surf lesson and where
    *

  29. Paula Minger    

    Why aren’t PRE 9/11 Veterans and Caregivers included? My husbands a 100% VN era vet and I’ve been his caregiver for decades. We both grew up in Southern California and he spent years surfing in SC down to Mexico

    Anyway. I just don’t like the idea that we fianlly have great events for wounded warriors and NO PRE 9/11 Vet is included!

    There’s more to wounded warriors than a PTSD and Mild TBI claim…

Comments are closed.