Surfing, the physical and the mental side work both well togetherness and a lot of the endeavors that we do with the Endeavor Fund are about doing something physical to enable the mental side to kind of catch up with what your body is able to do. And I think a lot of guys are always reluctant to go in and try new things because the mind is telling them they can’t even though the body can. For the past week down here was being in Cornwall, we’ve been delivering something called Op Surf. This has been a partnership between Help For Heroes and the Endeavour Fund which is part of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. And we’ve been supported by half a dozen volunteers from AIG who’ve been an integral part of the team and providing water safety and right where the sea meets the beach and making the operation much more slick. And the guys back out into the ocean once they’ve ridden their wave. I applied to be a volunteer to come down here to Cornwall to help the guys, that are ex-military, wounded, injured and sick. To help them learn to surf as part of the recovery and just getting back on their journey to transition them back into non-military life. Following a tour of Afghanistan, I had some psychological issues from the combat there and they were severe enough to unfortunately end my career in the war Marines. So that’s how I became in the wounded, injured and sick bracket. There’s a lot of healing that needs to go on for a lot of injured guys, whether it be limb loss or PTSD, the guys have a lot of mental healing to do and one of the things that the ocean offers you is a kind of an absolute leveling. When you’re bobbing around in the water not able to touch the floor, everyone is in the same position and then to be able to surf and do something that is considered be quite difficult with the help of all the experienced instructors that they have here, it kind of gives you back that kind of buzz that you were missing from your life. We all believe that sport is an amazing vehicle and catalyst for recovery and the sport of surfing certainly epitomizes that. Add in the extra ingredient of being out there in the ocean and the spirituality and the peace that comes with that activity, I think that everybody not just the participant but those who have volunteered, the instructors, I can guarantee myself as well have all taken something from this incredible week.

Antonio Breitenberg

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