PORT ARANSAS, Texas — On Saturday, several people who don't usually get the chance, were stoked to catch some waves.
“It’s a blast to be out on the water again, you know? It’s just awesome,” Matt Gypin said.
Gypin made the trek from Fort Collins, Colorado down to Port Aransas. He wasn’t going to let his disability keep him from catching a few waves.
“Coming out of Covid and I was like I want to get out of Colorado," he said. "I want to go somewhere. Somewhere I haven’t been before, somewhere new. And then, I checked the Life Rolls On website about a month ago and saw that this was going on. And I was like oh man I gotta go.”
Life Rolls On is a non-profit that puts on events around the country for people with disabilities. They partner locally with Texas Surf Camps to put on “They Will Surf Again.” it gives these people the opportunity they may not have had before, to go surfing.
For Gypin, this was his third time surfing since he became paralyzed in 2003.
“I think it just shows that people with disabilities still want to and still can get out on the water," said Gypin. "It just takes some help and adaptive equipment or whatever, but ready to go, so.”
The Rangel family also made the journey to Port Aransas, but from San Antonio. Jessica Rangel said she’s thankful there’s a big group of volunteers, willing to give her daughter this experience.
“I thought, hey this is a great opportunity for her to be able to surf," said Rangel who has an 8-year-old daughter with disabilities. "I mean, she is in a wheelchair. It’s a lot about inclusion. Just because she’s in a wheelchair that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop her from doing other stuff, or ordinary, or what normal kiddos do.”
This is the first year the event was brought back since the pandemic began. Texas Surf Club has been helping with the event for a few years, donating the adaptable equipment for people to surf with and their instructors volunteer to help.
“To see kids get so excited about catching their first wave and to be able to take out those who can’t do this on their own, means so much to us," Brittany Faulkner said, owner of Texas Surf Club. "It’s one of the best feelings in the world for us and for the surfers themselves.”
"They Will Surf Again” is an annual event that you can find in Port Aransas, around the end of April each year.