O’Neill is a proud partner of Surfability, the only full-time adaptive surf school in the world. The short film ‘Time to Adapt’ was filmed last year with Surfability and its members including para surfing world champion Llywelyn ‘Sponge’ Williams and Manoah Smiley, the driving forces behind this project.
Here is what Manoah has to say in his own words:
Thanks for watching, and reading. I’m Manoah, one of many appearing in this vid with strong links to Surfability, who helped to realise this film. I’m an anti-racism educator and amputee surfer living in Swansea, Wales. I’m on the steering group of Surfability, and also a caretaker at its centre at Caswell Bay, near Swansea. Surfability is the only full-time adaptive surf school in the world.
The two Bens I’ll be mentioning are Benjamin and Benedict. The former is Surfability’s founder and director, the latter a director. Jamie also gets a mention, he’s the film-maker. Surf is my lifesaver. Obviously, it’s great exercise and a joyful appreciation of the environment. Both are therapeutic, but there’s more, especially on the bigger days. A little fear or anxiety creeps in, and stress hormones are released. Moments later they’re processed. Perhaps it’s the simple relief of dodging getting smashed. Even better … the exhilaration of a late take-off on the bomb that looked threatening. I live with stresses induced by racism, and believe surfing is one of the best ways to process those hormones.
Surfing is when I feel most alive, most human. The ocean has no preconceptions or judgements about my abilities or attitude. So my efforts are rewarded, justly. Whether I’m charging down the line with no time to think, easy gliding, or landing big drops, I’m lit from head to toe.
Surfability is more than a surf school, it’s an enabling community for all things in adaptive surfing. Personal highlights from the last months include…
Enjoying my favourite break, Rhossili, thanks to Benedict having vehicular access. As my wave of the day petered out I looked back. There was Benedict, I’d dropped in on him, I laughed loud and long from the stoke – while apologising. His presence was the cherry on the cake. A witness, “sharing” it cos he was cool with the drop-in.
One day Benjamin suggested a break I hadn’t yet surfed. We loaded a SUP with our gear and paddled there together. Rocks and serious rips were navigated. Another “first amputee to surf this break” claim, thanks to Surfability – Surfability means access. If my regular buddy (Evan) can’t make it I can go to Caswell and lean on them, gently. I need minimal support, but essentially some. Oh, and the shared local knowledge, I can’t forget that gem!
When the tendrils of community reach into popular brands it’s very welcome too. Thanks O’Neill, the suits you made us are beauties. Thanks Jamie, you’re community too. It’ll be a joy to share your well-crafted, stylish and utterly magic film.
Filmed and edited by Jamie Hancock: @jamiehancock1
Voiceover: Johnny Bang Reilly: @johnnybangreilly