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Having fun with AccesSurf.

I’ve been having fun this summer exploring handicap possible water activities. There’s a lot to explore here in Hawaii and with a little or sometimes much help, I’ve found new sports to try.

It started back in March with AccesSurf. This is a great organization that brings a wide range of people with various physical challenges out into the ocean to swim, surf, paddle board and kayak. They have two gatherings a month, one for all challenged athletes and one for Wounded Warriors.

My first day with the group, they escorted my out into the water on a big-wheeled chair and guided me in swimming. It was my first time in the ocean in probably fifteen years. The volunteers were great, very responsive to any special needs. I didn’t actually do much of anything. They suspended me in the water and let me float. Truthfully, it was pretty uncomfortable since the life vest forced my neck into an awkward position.

After the swim came the part I was really looking forward to, SURFING! Okay, I won’t be standing up on a board anytime soon, but riding tandem on my belly out into the waves was exhilarating.  We caught three 3-4 foot waves before I had to let someone else have their turn. So much fun! I’ve wanted to surf since I was a little girl. Dream come true.

I now try to make it out every month. Last month they changed it up and had kayaking, canoeing and prone paddle boarding.

What is prone paddle boarding? It’s also known as traditional paddle boarding, which is what the Hawaiians originally did before stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). The board is more like a surf board but you lie on it and paddle with your arms. It’s a sport that I can do solo once I’m in the water, so for that reason, I really like it.

AccessSurf prone paddleboarding

AccessSurf prone paddleboarding

The guy that taught me, Mark Matheson, is a paraplegic who competes in long distance races with his team. His boards are customized with handles and an extra large wedge of foam to lean on and prop the neck up. We both went out and it felt so good to be doing something all on my own in the water.

Since then, Mark has offered to let me use his extra board to see if this is really the sport for me. He introduced me to a friend that he paddle with and the friend asked how my swimming skills were. Whoops. Not great.

So, last weekend I tried ocean swimming for the first time in probably twenty years. It took a lot of assistance to get me into and out of the water, but in the water wasn’t so bad. I wouldn’t want to be in the water without either a floatation device or life vest but I didn’t feel completely out of control. I did take my life vest off and let go of the boogie board for a minute or two. Swimming definitely uses body parts I haven’t been using for a while. It’s something I’ll have to do though if I do take up prone paddle boarding.

My life has been quite busy with beach activities, farmer’s markets and local events this summer. The thing is, this is Hawaii. I can to do these things year round.

I love books, my Kindle and my Kindle Fire.

I’ve always been addicted to reading. My mother used to kick me out of the house to go play and I’d just bring my book out to the picnic table. I still feel naked without a book of some sort in my bag. I want that chance to escape into another world at any moment. Now we have so many choices of ways to read.

I read full books on the tiny screen of my iPhone before I got my Kindles and if necessary I still will read from my phone.

My first Kindle, the original Kindle, was not a favorite but I appreciated being able to carry multiple books around with me. It seemed kind of low tech and clunky and we never really bonded. It eventually died.

It was replaced with a Kindle Touch. That is more sleek and sexy and since I make a point of carrying the smallest bag possible, it fit my lifestyle. I currently have 140 books on it. I haven’t read them all but they are there in case I’m stranded at a bus stop or doctor’s appointment. I bought a rubbery cover for it so it isn’t so slippery. It makes the Kindle feel secure in my hands. Because of its size, it goes with me almost everywhere.

Then along came my Kindle Fire. It was kind of a gift. My husband bought it for himself and decided it didn’t really meet his needs. Plus I was always borrowing it to watch Amazon Prime movies.

I like the Fire for its apps and internet capability. I use it to view books I’m publishing on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to make sure the formatting looks right on different devices. Also, it makes PDF documents easier to scroll though than trying to read them on a laptop. It makes reading magazines on a plane much easier. No more elbowing the passenger next to you while turning the page.

So now when I leave the house, I have to decide whether to take the Touch or the Fire. If I have room, I sometimes take both. If I’m just going to be reading and in the sun, I take the Touch. The glare on the Fire makes it difficult to use outside. The Fire has become my laptop replacement if I might need to look something up on the internet.  It’s certainly not a replacement for my MacBook but it’s a step up from my phone. I kinda feel if you are going to use an iPad you might as well use a laptop. Anyway, that’s another conversation.

I still love the feel of a good hardcover book. It’s now become a special treat. There’s nothing like a good novel taken from the library shelves and brought home to savor with a good cup of tea. The smell and weight of it is comforting. Textbooks and nonfiction sometimes work better for me in paper as well. Flipping to a certain page to get the information you need quickly is easier for me when I can actually see the pages.

So, there you have it. I love books in any shape and form.


kindle books