Bob Donnelly, from New Jersey, can cross step with the kind of grace that most longboarders strive for but don’t achieve. Separating from active duty in the near future, rumor has it that Florida is getting a kick ass lifeguard and EMT.
Tom Tapp, founder of Operation Amped. Although never in the military, he finds himself saluted on a regular basis - much to his discomfort.
Think you can kick this guys ass?
Guess again. Reed Olmstead one of the best behind the scenes guys making things happen, making it look easy, making everybody around him look good. And he's no slouch in the water, either.
The rush of a wave.
Time to go get some
It doesn't matter if you stand on 2 legs or not, if you're riding a wave, you're surfing.
Even paddling out can be exciting.
A successful Friday afternoon session. Just the start of a great weekend.
Wiping out is half the fun.
Tony started as a participant and now spends more time helping out the veterans than just about anyone else. A man of few words, you're not a "made person" at Operation Amped until Tony acknowledges your presence.
Ain' t no mountain high enough.
Especially when you have the support of a fantastic family. A pilot in the military, he's soon to fly fix wing aircraft for a stateside government agency.
You just know that this is only the beginning for this surfer.
Camaraderie on the beach
Randi Woodrow, travels 3,000 miles on her own dime to shoot great pictures (check them out at our Flikr gallery!).and help out on the beach.
Chris Small. This force recon marine is Small in name and stature, but he's sure got plenty of heart. He sits outside of everyone in the lineup to catch the biggest and meanest waves of the session. He makes a few of them. The wipeouts are often spectacular. Picture aerial cartwheels and mountains of white water. In a fluid situation such as large breaking waves there's few certainties. One of them though, is that when Chris Small gets off the bottom of the ocean and back to the surface, he's going to reel in his board, paddle back out and go for it again like it ain't no thing.
He breaks boards
and wins awards
Once the action starts, it's non stop.
Todd Gould, former army captain extrordinaire, took the lead on planning the event this year and of course he just killed it. Don't pay any mind to the wipes, he's a bit of a
Elmer, once a participant, now a volunteer and accomplished surfer still charging - in the the water and the Marine Corps.
Cecila Gabunilas and Wendy Summers at the check in desk making all the warriors and their families have everything they need. It's not an easy job but they sure make it look so.In the background is Jimmy Summers running away from the camera. Sound guy, surfer, playlist maker, and all around great guy.
These veterans have often times spent years away from their families on multiple deployments. Moments with their kids at the beach like this won't soon be forgotten.
Josh Harper helping Daniel catch his first wave of the of the day. Not a bad start at all.
A couple of Navy SEALS jogged up from Coronado on Saturday to help out. In true unit fashion, 2 of them brought along their sons to get in on the action. Here they are below with a a few volunteers and Mark (pictured center, and more about this amazing cat later). They paddled alongside Mark and took them out to the crowded point where the very best waves were breaking. They fanned out to create a screen blocking out nearby surfers. One stayed close to him and coached him into some real gems that wrapped all the way in to the bay.
These 2 young teenagers helped out the warriors in the water and then after the warrior was done in the water they turned around and took his kid out for a surf lesson.
More great posts coming next week. Look forward to great stuff about our warriors, volunteers, and awesome sponsors.
Posted by Keith Lovgren