How we started.
As avid surfers ourselves, we often take for granted how easy it is for us to spend the day on the beach and in the water. Ocean Cure was founded on the idea of giving everyone the opportunity to experience our passion for surfing, regardless of their limitations. Founders Kevin Murphy and Christopher Lacoe felt there was a need for an organization that provides more than a one day event, but rather a life style. Murphy, being a licensed elementary school teacher, understood the compassion required for such as task and found there was a desire within the teaching community to spend their summers continuing to give back.
Ocean Cure began working with small groups of individuals with varying disabilities testing adaptive beach wheel chairs and surf boards. We found that there was a need for continued beach accessibility for those with mobility impairments but also an environment where people can build a healthy habit. We, at Ocean Cure, believe very strongly in using the healing properties of the ocean for not only physical disabilities, but also emotional trauma and mental impairments.
What we do.
Through the use of our beach wheel chairs, accessible flooring, and adaptive surf boards, we feel there is no beach we can't make accessible. Our organization consists of a core group of volunteers that are experienced watermen and water-women that have a passions for helping others and are also licensed grade school teachers. This gives our participants the confidence that our volunteers are dedicated to their safety and overall learning experience.
Each of our camps begins with a welcoming environment for our participants as we adapt the beach for their needs. For some participants, our camps can simply serve as a day the beach is 100% accessible for them. For those ready to hit the water, we provide adaptive surf boards and assistance in and out of the water. The real fun begins when we hit the waves! Our professional instructors will discuss and assess the ability of each participant to determine whether tandem surfing or solo-surfing will provide the best experience.
Following a fun-filled day in the surf, sand, and sun our participants leave with a sense of accomplishment and if nothing else, a good night of sleep. We often say "we measure our success by the smiles we create," because we feel there is no better way to quantify our experience. This is not only for those riding on the board, but their families, and our volunteers. Each and every camp is filled with smiles and (good) tears on the beach from a loved one, or an onlooker walking the beach.
Campers travel from all over the US to attend our events in North Carolina. Our home base is in Carolina Beach, NC which offers one of the most handicap accessible boardwalks on the east cost. We are also able to travel to assist in adaptive surf events up and down the east coast, bringing our services to more communities.
Through activities such as surfing and paddle boarding, our highly qualified instructors look to generate and provide a feeling of normalcy for our participants. By alleviating apprehension and fear around an activity that might seem as impossible, our surf camps help to empower those who are disabled. This reassures our participants that there is no obstacle that they cannot overcome. By using the ocean, we are able to create uplifting personal experiences for not only the participant, but their families as well. We understand that a disability or impairment is not only tough for the body in which it inhabits, but also those around them. By involving participants AND their families, the waves extend beyond one individual, and into their loved ones to build a positive relationship and a common bond amongst families.
Over the past 10+ years we have served over a thousand participants and their families with a number of life challenges and disabilities. Our work ranges from those with a complete loss of mobility to someone who is working through PTSD and is looking for a healthy habit. Our impacts are most evident when our participants feels that are apart of our community; they identify as a surfer. From a child who is completely blind and asks his mom to hang posters of surfers in his room, to a wounded veteran that is so exhausted and is finally able to catch an unmedicated night of sleep. Through this, we feel we have helped to improve someones quality of life.
From the source...
" Thank you for giving me back a piece of life that has been missing for 9 years."
— Daniel Moody, Athlete
" I have volunteers with Ocean Cure several times over the years. Those days have been some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my life. If I could work with them everyday, I would."
— Amy Williams, Volunteer