Children with special needs go surfing in NY's Long Beach

August 17, 2017 | Surfing
Adaptive surfing: riding waves is for everyone | Photo: Meredith Forbes

Seventeen young patients with cerebral palsy enjoyed the pleasures of surfing in Long Beach, Long Island.

The event organized by the Adaptive Sports Academy at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) had surfers Will and Cliff Skudin teaching the basic lessons to beginners aged from 5 to 21.

Despite the initial anxiety and fear, the patients affected by disabilities such as cerebral palsy and other body movement restrictions had fun riding the challenging waves on offer in New York's Long Beach.

"Adaptive sports not only enable people to experience the benefits of exercise. They always feel empowered after trying a new activity and succeeding," explains Siobhan Clarke, a pediatric physical therapist at HSS and local surfer.

Some of the young surfers use walkers and crutches to move around and needed a wheelchair to get to the surf, but the adaptive surfboards and the trained staff were ready to welcome them in the water.

"It was thrilling! The water was so cool. My muscles are tight, and sometimes I have spasms, but it felt like they loosened up in the water," revealed Sidorela Lleshi, the 21-year old college student who participated in the academy's first surf trip.

Do you know someone who would love to try adaptive surfing? Check out our complete directory of organizations promoting surfing for people with disabilities. uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more on our About section.