LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA – December 6, 2016 – Sight impaired surfer Scott Leason is about to make history. Again. Team USA’s first-ever blind surfer is set to represent his country for the second consecutive year at the 2016 Stance ISA World Adaptive Games at La Jolla Shores this weekend. The event has grown to 77 adaptive surfers representing 21 countries and will be held December 8 to 11, 2016, at the beautiful San Diego sandy beach and surf spot.
Scott grew up in Newport Beach, California, and was an avid surfer and dirt bike rider. He proudly served his country in the US Navy. In a convenience store robbery 23 years ago, Scott was working as a clerk and the robbers shot him in the head with a 9mm handgun. His vision was obliterated and lost forever. Right around the 8 year mark of blindness, Scott was reintroduced to surfing at an annual event hosted by the Swamis Surfing Association, Encinitas Lions Club, and the San Diego Surfing Academy. This was when Scott met his surf coach, Pat Weber, of SDSA.
Recently, Coach Pat was severely injured with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Three words that don’t mix: Great. Dane. Skateboard. Don’t try this at home kids! With Coach Pat sidelined on the beach with a bum shoulder, Scott’s good friend, Randy Rolff, stepped up and donated a pair of waterproof two-way walkie-talkies. Scott’s walkie-talkie is supported in a chopped GoPro waterhousing mounted on a Gath surf helmet. Scott and Coach Pat have been using the combination effectively to train for the Worlds. On verbal cues alone from Coach Pat on the beach thru the “Talking Helmet”, and without physical assistance, Scott is able to surf. He says, “It’s the most liberating feeling ever! To move independently in the ocean and experience the water, the smell of the fresh salt air, the motion of the waves: it’s a huge blessing!”
What’s next for Scott after the World’s? He and Coach Pat are hoping to get an invite for Team USA’s adaptive surfers to either Kelly Slater’s Wave Pool in Lenoore, California, or The Wave Garden in Austin, TX, or both! The prospect of a perfect predictable peeling wave has them thrilled with anticipation and hopes of what can be.
To help Scott cover the expenses associated with training and surfing at the highest level of his ability, please consider a donation to his GoFundMe campaign and click here.