Hunter Hits The Surf
Six-Year-Old Rides Waves in Hawaii
By: Michael Izzo
Name: Hunter Pochop
In April 2011, for the fourth time in the last two years, Hunter Pochop went surfing. Jacqueline Pochop and her family, including her son Hunter, age six, traveled to Hawaii for a vacation that included attending Hunter's third They Will Surf Again (TWSA) event. Born with spina bifida, surfing presents a unique set of challenges for Hunter, but on a beautiful day in White Plains, Hawaii, he got on his surfboard and rode the waves.
They Will Surf Again is the flagship program of the Life Rolls On Foundation, dedicated to improving quality of life for youth with spinal cord injury and using action sports such as surfing to prove that anything is possible when living with paralysis. TWSA is a free program that allows people living with spinal cord injuries to surf with the help of volunteers.
Hawaii was the third time Hunter has participated in a TWSA event. "The first time I was nervous," says his mother, "but then I saw how they took care of him. The water leaders were very conscientious. After the first time, I wasn't nervous at all."
Nobody was happier about surfing in Hawaii than Hunter. "It was all about Hunter and having a good time," says Pochop. "He loves the water. You can see it in his face."
Pochop believes TWSA is something more people living with spinal cord injuries should participate in since it's such a unique experience. "It's like having a one-up," says Pochop. "The confidence you see, not just in Hunter, but in everyone that gets to do this for the first time, whether age five, like Hunter was the first time, or 25 or 35, you can see the excitement on their face. It's empowering."
Hunter plans to surf again as soon as possible.
To find out more about They Will Surf Again and the Life Rolls On Foundation, visit their website at liferollson.org.