OCEANSIDE, Calif. —
A North County San Diego museum is showcasing adaptive surfers and the healing power of the ocean. The new exhibit at the California Surf Museum is making waves for all the right reasons as it teaches about challenged athletes and how they adapt.
"Each of the different pieces of equipment you see here were made for a different surfer and whatever their difficulty is," said Jim Kempton, president of the California Surf Museum.
The exhibit spotlights talented surfers who have overcome physical challenges to thrive in the sport. For example, Bethany Hamilton's surfboard and the bathing suit she wore the day she was attacked by a shark are on display at the museum. Bethany lost her left arm but continues to successfully compete as a surfer.
"One of the things that’s amazing is just how tenacious and how inspiring these athletes are,” said Kempton.
That includes surfer Joshua Loya, also known as "The Jedi." He's a blind surfer with an impressive surfing record.
"I was first totally blind surfer to surf Kelly Slater’s wave pool,” said Loya. “Then I took U.S. Nationals visually impaired category last year.”
Loya says training includes good communication with his coach and he hopes his career inspires others.
"Long after I’ve got rickety knees and I can’t surf anymore, I hope my efforts will make a difference,” said Loya. “If a blind kid hears about me, [he or she] will want to give surfing a shot.”