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Service members often encounter physical, psychological and emotional adversity when protecting the freedoms this country was founded on. The injuries sustained both on and off duty require recovery in many forms – including physical competitions, religious programs, community outreach opportunities, behavioral health and more. Some may only need a surfboard and a wave to ride.

Veterans, recovering service members and their loved ones attended the 12th Annual Operation Amped Surf Camp at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 17-19. Operation Amped is a non-profit organization that promotes surf therapy to aid in the recovery of wounded, ill and injured veterans and active-duty service members.

According to Joseph Gabunilas, Operation Amped co-founder, this program exists to provide a positive change in a participant’s future. Operation Amped accomplishes this by providing surf training once a year to wounded warriors, family members and veterans.

“It’s a good way to keep that negative stuff out of your mind while catching a wave,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. David Simons, participant at Operation Amped. “Surfing has given me a goal, something to work towards and keep my focus straight.”

The organization, which began in September 2006, had helped nearly 300 recovering service members, veterans and their loved ones. Along with the support and attendance of family members and friends, that number has now reached the thousands, said Gabunilas, who served in the U.S. Army. Having both the recovering service members and their loved ones in attendance, can provide the therapy needed to overcome the trials and tribulations they may be experiencing.

“Ocean therapy is good for the mindset,” said Simons. “It’s good for those that have difficult issues they’re dealing with.”

Some of the adversity these warriors face include the loss of fellow service members in and out of combat,overcoming pain and physical injury. For three days each year, with the support of organizations such as this one, participants move closer to recovery one wave at a time.

Provisions come from volunteers and supporters who donate surfboards, wetsuits, food, tents, and tables. Most importantly, they donate their time.

“This is my way of giving back,” said Gabunilas. “I served 21 years and this is another way I can give back to the brave men and women fighting for our country.”

This annual event drives a passion for surfing for some and provides a recreational outlet for warriors and their family members to enjoy while physically and mentally challenging themselves in the water. The next clinic is scheduled for summer 2019.


Operation Amped Foundation will be hosting their 12th annual Surf Camp for 15 Injured, Disabled and Wounded Veterans and their Families 17 – 19 August 2018 at the Camp Pendelton/San Onofre Facility. This year’s event promises to be one of the best ever. Please donate at our website to ensure the continuation of our mission for many more years to come! THANK YOU!

The Smiles for Veterans event will be held November 18, 2017

Cick the links below for more details!



Operation Amped accepts 10 Surfboards from Prudential Insurance at a Team Building event hosted by Firefly Team Events at the Laguna Beach Montage Resort 26 March 2017.  The surfboards with custom art will be given to the Ill, Disabled and Wounded Veterans participating in Operation Amped Surf Clinics.  Special Thanks to Prudential Insurance and Firefly Team Events!


Dear Operation Amped Warriors, Your Families, Volunteers, Donors and Supporters,

This holiday season we wish you a blessed and joyous time with your friends and family.  For many of us, this time of year is bitter/sweet.  We remember the challenges and happy time 2016 has brought us.  We member friends, family, and our brothers and sister in ARMS both past and present.  Those that are gone and those who are still with us.  Memories are what keep them alive in our hearts!

Please take this time to reflect on those people that bring meaning to our lives.   Most of all, please pray for our Warriors who cannot spend this special time of the year with their loved ones.  They deserve a special place in our hearts for helping maintain our freedoms.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Operation Amped Family

Dear Volunteers and Supporters,

If you make a purchase through Amazon, please make it with Amazon smile. Proceeds help our Veterans and their families through our events

Support Operation Amped by shopping at AmazonSmile.

When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate to Operation Amped. Support us every time you shop.



Operation Amped salutes all of our veterans both past and present, living and deceased. Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice for which our nation owes a HUGE Debt! Without you we would not have a FREE Nation and our organization would not exist. Happy Veterans Day!


In Florida:

WHEN: Sunday, Sept 25 at 9am
WHERE: On the beach, behind Sea Vista Tiki Bar: 1701 S Atlantic Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169 *Look for Izzy’s truck on the beach with a flag flying on it* -There is additional parking on the North side of Islander Beach Resort: 1601 S Atlantic Ave, NSB, FL 32169 (just north of the Tiki).

You can also drive & park on the beach ($10) •We will be holding a beach side service for her there, and will follow with a paddle out. If you would like to participate in the paddle out, please feel free to wear beach attire and bring your board. Izzy would have wanted this to be a celebration.

Following the paddle out, approx 11am, we will be having a potluck style brunch at a family friends’ home: Travis & Deia – 1517 Live Oak St, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32141

In California:

Funeral Service:
WHEN: Thursday, Sept 29th, promptly at 1pm
WHERE: Miramar National Cemetery, 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, CA 92122 *We will update with plot info when we find out*

Reception following Funeral
– All are welcome to share their memories at this time.

WHERE: Del Mar Beach venue/facility

**We will post the location/time as soon as we know.** •Following the ceremony, there will be a paddle out. Please feel free to join in this if you’d like.
– This location is being hosted by Wounded Warriors Surf Clinic, an organization that Izzy was involved with.

The Operation Amped Family mourns the passing of one of its own, Izzy George. She passed away this past Friday 16 September 2016. We wish to express our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Izzy’s fire ball spirit will be missed, but never forgotten.

May her soul rest in peace.

From all the friends and family at Operation Amped.



Operation Amped would like to thank the ISURUS Wetsuit Company for their generous donation of 15 new wetsuits! These suits will be used to support our 3 day surf camps and 1 day clinics!