Monthly Archives: October 2015

When surfers speak of “stoke” they are not just engaging in Spicoli surfer speak. Surfing, done right, delivers a tremendous psychological high.

Paddling hard in the ocean, catching waves, riding waves, and plunging into an environment can be as dangerous as it is thrilling: People who start surfing learn that “stoke” is an overall feeling of physical and mental cleanliness that can lead to a lifetime obsession with riding waves in the ocean.

For veterans returning home from foreign wars with physical and mental injuries, that stoked stimulation can mean the difference between elation and depression, and even between a good life and a tragic death.

According to the Wounded Warrior Project, as of July 1, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had wounded 52,343, with an estimated 320,000 suffering from traumatic brain injuries and 400,000 suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

These veterans all require care and rehabilitation, and the Veterans Administration is aided by private organizations like Operation Amped, a group of veterans, surfers, medical professionals and volunteers whose mission is:

“To share the ‘stoke’ of the surfing community and the healing potential of surfing with seriously ill, injured, or disabled U.S. military veterans and their families. Our vision is of a surfing community that demonstrates appreciation for the sacrifices of servicemen and women with its welcoming environment and sharing the grounding and healing of surfing.”

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