I rarely cry these days; I’m hard as nails. Well sort of. But something that can bring me close to tears is seeing, or even just hearing about, children with autism or learning disabilities discovering surfing. I didn’t take the photo above, but I heard about the session afterwards (both from the mum and the coach) and when I saw the photo I found myself welling up.
The photo was taken during a 6 year old’s first surf lesson last week. He attends a local special school and I’ve spoken to his mum online. A few months ago she contacted me via Facebook, after seeing some photos of Archie surfing, to ask where I take him. I gave her the details and she booked to take her son this half term. Unfortunately the day of his surf lesson was the day Devon was battered by a very unseasonal storm. I was still driving past fallen branches today. The surf school cancelled all lessons, but unluckily (or maybe luckily) the message didn’t get through. It was decided to give the lesson a go anyway and as can be seen he absolutely loved it! He was unfazed by the huge seas and loved the sensation of the waves crashing into him. His mum is delighted and he will be going again.
I think hearing about these little victories makes me cry because I know how much it meant to be when Archie began to surf regularly. After years of activities lasting minutes at most, seeing him find something that he’ll happily do for hours still makes me emotional when I think about it. And there’s something about seeing these kids so free and utterly stoked that is very moving. I can’t really put into words how special these moments are, although I suspect the photos in this post probably say everything that needs to be said.