All Girls Winter Surf Sesh | Santa Cruz | Dec, 2018
Written and Video Directed by #HighFivesAthlete Landon McGauley
I was blown away by the true strength both of these women showed. Watching them take a deep breath in the face of fear and then a strong paddle straight into it will be a memory I’ll not soon forget.
Most people trying a new sport don’t just hop right into it with one of the worlds’ best at the sport. Fortunately for Ricci Kilgore and Kimberly Joines this was not the case. Joines had traveled from British Columbia and Kilgore from Reno to Santa Cruz to try adaptive surfing for the very first time. Although Kilgore and Joines are incredibly talented athletes both having ski raced against each other in the Paralympics, they had never surfed before. One other woman had made the commute down to Santa Cruz to surf but it was not her first time. Alana Nichols back to back world adaptive surfing champion was there and she was ready to teach the rookies a new sport.
The nerves were high when the girls first arrived and got their first look at the raw power of the ocean. Nichols used her knowledge and expertise to calm them and teach about where to be and how to ride the adaptive surfboard. The girls went to bed feeling equally excited and nervous. The next day was time to put paddles in the water. Kilgore and Joines took to it like everyone knew they would. They immediately battled out to the break and began catching waves. Although the ocean did show them its ugly side and they took some beat downs they came out of the water with big smiles on their faces.
It was intimidating and humbling at the same time but I am so happy I got to go out and try it, I absolutely loved it!
It was like I found some wings! It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to learn a new sport, and was great to feel the rush of unfamiliar terrain.
The second day was met with much more excitement than nerves. Talk of the stoke from the previous day had filled the evening and everyone was eager to apply their new skills on a new days waves. Nichols, Kilgore and Joines paddled out and immediately began catching waves. They surfed wave after wave, hour after hour. You could see them smiling from the shore. As the girls began to come in high fives were exchanged and stories of waves were told. The crew had a group dinner and went to bed with full hearts for a new sport.
The final day was much of the same the girls got out and surfed better than the previous day. They caught many waves and loved every minute. Two new surfers were born over the course of those last three days.