VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Hundreds of disabled men, women and children will get to feel the freedom of riding the waves this weekend.
The event is called 'They Will Surf Again,' and it is sponsored by the Life Rolls On organization. One Virginia Beach man has been behind this effort ever since he got back on a board 20 years after his injury.
Raul Pernites, an avid surfer, broke his neck in a diving accident when he was 19. He has been paralyzed ever since but that was not going to stop him from playing sports and staying active.
Pernites heard of the Life Rolls On Organization years ago and saw the surf events they hold in California, Florida, etc., and he wanted to bring that same positive energy to Virginia Beach.
It was eight years ago when Pernites and a few friends got the event together for the first time. They only had eight disabled surfers and a hand full of volunteers, but they carried the athletes out into the water and helped them surf in.
Since then the event has grown. This year 116 surfers will take to the Oceanfront and hit the water. It is all made possible by the more than 300 volunteers that travel from across the country to be here.
Dave Shotton owns Freedom Surf Shop in Virginia Beach and has been involved since day one. He told News 3 that the event is his favorite day of the year because of the joy that fills the beach.
Athletes from six to 60, men, women, children, surfers and people who have never surfed will all get a chance to ride waves during the event held Saturday from 8 a.m - 4 p.m. at 2nd Street.
A fundraising event is being held Friday night featuring acoustic live music, buffet, silent auction & raffles.
Head to the Doubletree Hotel -1900 Pavillion Drive, Va. Beach to attend.
To volunteer or donate visit the Life Rolls On website.