TRUCKEE, Calif. August 31, 2016 – On August 25th, 27-year-old Jeff Andrews traveled to Honolulu, Oahu with the High Fives Foundation and won first place in the Assisted Division of the competition.
In 2014, Jeff Andrews was an avid snowboarder like so many others enjoying the Tahoe mountains. In an unfortunate accident at Sugarbowl in March of that year, Jeff suffered an injury to his spinal cord, leaving him without the use of his legs and limited dexterity in his hands and arms.
Since the injury, 27-year-old Andrews has spent thousands of hours concentrating on his rehabilitation. He works out daily at the CR Johnson Healing Center, a fitness and wellness facility operated by Truckee’s High Fives Foundation. The nonprofit has awarded Andrews a series of grants towards his recovery goals, including personal training with world renown healer, Alejandra Monslave in Maui, Hawaii.
While in Hawaii in March 2016, Andrews began surfing regularly. With an injury such as his, Andrews requires the assistance of another waterman who helps push him as the wave approaches. He remains on his stomach in the prone position but can artfully maneuver the surfboard moving along with the wave.
“I set them up, and he knocks them out of the park,” said Hobart Dickinson, the waterman who assists Jeff Andrews in the water. Hobart regularly surfs with Andrews.
“When we were there in May, we saw how incredible Jeff had become on a surfboard,” said Roy Tuscany, Executive Director of the High Fives Foundation. “So when we learned about the Dukes surf competition, we knew Jeff had to enter.”
Duke’s OceanFest is a celebration of the life of Duke Kahanamoku on his 126th birthday year and all the ocean activities he did in Hawaii. He is fondly remembered as the greatest waterman who ever lived.
Hawaii non-profit AccessSurf hosted the adaptive competition bringing 60 surfers with disabilities from nine nations to compete in nine divisions in their 10th Annual Adaptive Surf Competition during Duke’s OceanFest.
Andrews came in first place in both heats of the Assisted-A Division on August 24th and 25th.
In total, six athletes supported by the High Fives Foundation competed in various divisions of the adaptive surf competition.
“Surfing is the most exciting thing I have done since my injury,” said Andrews. “A wave is the same sensation as snowboarding in powder, just now its in the water instead of powdery snow.”