The City of Cannon Beach, Sea Breeze Court and Bahama Boards are working together to make adaptive surf lessons for veterans available year-round in Cannon Beach.
The Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) set up by the City of Cannon Beach has been offering Beach Wheelchairs for a couple years now at no cost to those who need them, so everyone can enjoy the beach.
“The program has enabled thousands of folks from all over the world to dip their toes in the sand here in Cannon Beach,” said Bahama Boards managing partner Gabe Smith. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and they have decided to expand on the use of those Chairs.”
Last summer Greg Allen, the major partner in Bahama Boards opened a new shop in Cannon Beach, which had its own aim at enabling adaptive athletes and Veterans with disabilities to have an opportunity to experience the healing power of the ocean. When they learned about the HRAP beach wheelchair program from Cannon Beach City Manager Bruce St. Dennis, they were delighted to maintain the city’s program.
“With the ability to use the wheelchairs to get adaptive athletes down to the water, Bahama Boards is now able to offer athletes an opportunity to experience the stoke” Smith said. “Last month we posted on social media the desire to offer these lessons and we immediately got an interested person to book a flight to Oregon. Interestingly enough Rachel Corey who is scheduled to come the first week of September from Idaho was an Iron Man athlete before her accident that led to her injury. So, as you can guess she is pretty excited to be able to try out surfing.”
Even more heartwarming has been the outpouring of support from local Cannon Beach Firefighters and Lifeguards and their desire to help with getting folks into the water. As well as the support from the hospitality community.
According to Smith, Erik Ostrander of Sea Breeze Court in Cannon Beach heard about the program and since they are located directly across the street from the surf shop, they wanted to offer rooms for this project. The Sea Breeze Court is a family-owned and managed property by three generations of Quarles since 1965. They Welcome families, couples, and adventurers from around the world to enjoy a peaceful stay in Cannon Beach. The property is a short walk to the beach situated between downtown Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.
“We are very excited to see this program grow and are excited to have this program available in our community,” added Smith. “We couldn’t do this without the help of our community partners, it’s very exciting to see so many want to help with this program.”