#HighFivesAthlete Georgiana Burnside joins the High Fives Foundation in Santa Cruz for the 2nd adaptive surf camp hosted by the foundation this year!


Surfing is something I can pretty much do independently so I don't want to pass up the chance of having easy access to the coast. The water is therapeutic and let's you enjoy life without braces, walking poles, or a chair. It’s just you, the water, and a board.


While skiing a double black diamond at Snowmass, Colo. in the Spring of 2015, Georgiana Burnside of Little Rock, Ark., hit a rogue patch of ice that misdirected her off a large drop on the side of the trail. After dropping 50 feet or so, Burnside landed on her back and slid to a stop. That is where she discovered that she couldn’t move her legs.

Georgiana was flown directly to Craig Hospital where she underwent surgery to repair her spine. Following surgery, she was told that she had suffered an incomplete T12/L1 spinal cord injury and would be in a wheelchair.

Burnside refused to take the wheelchair prognosis, and got to work at Craig Hospital. She is currently walking with some assistance, and is attending Stanford University in the Fall. Burnside expressed an interest in finding adaptive outlets to the High Fives Foundation multiple times throughout her recovery. When she received the news that she earned a spot in the High Five the Wave Santa Cruz Adaptive Camp she couldn’t say yes fast enough.


Burnside chose the wave ski as her vehicle for the first day of camp, and she excelled at it, catching 5 waves. During an on-beach presentation by “Frosty,” a highly acclaimed Mavericks (Half Moon Bay, Calif. Surf break) surfer, Burnside noticed a woman gracefully surfing down the busy line at Pleasure Point. She then focused her interest on knee surfing, and on day two she did just that.

It was exhilarating,” exclaimed Burnside. “I felt so free and light on the wave, and every subtle movement created an equally exciting reaction.



Burnside will be attending Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. this Fall, so learning to surf couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

While attending college on the West Coast, Burnside plans to spend the Summer’s surfing the beautiful coast of California. It’s safe to say that High Five the Wave Santa Cruz created yet another life-long surfer.

“Watching Georgie paddle out and tackle the ocean for the first time was amazing,” boasted professional athlete Alana Nichols. “She didn’t stop smiling even when her arms were exhausted, and for me that’s all that matters. Having the opportunity to share my love of surfing with the next generation is incredibly special and I cant wait to watch adaptive surfing continue to grow and change more and more lives!”

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