Disabilities rights lawyer learns to surf
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 9 January, 2016 - Haben Girma is deaf and blind. Against all odds she graduated from Harvard Law School and was the keynote speaker at at the White House Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act last year. And this week she learned to surf.
Enter one of Southern California’s most famous surf schools, Surf Diva, who facilitated the lesson, walking Ms. Girma through all the steps involved.
Surf Diva said in a statement that Haben came to San Diego over New Year's to learn to surf. After she tandem surfed a few years ago riding on her belly, her goal was to surf on her own standing upright.
With the help of several volunteers and a clear Southern California day, Haben was pushed into a wave and stood up on her own, successfully riding the whitewater to shore.
"Teaching Haben to surf is like any other student," said Iris Hrabe-Ritzert, instructor at Surf Diva. "We found out what her strengths are, dancing, and used that skill to help her handle the oncoming waves. Then we had her balance on the board and get the feel of it before letting go and setting her off on her own wave. We took her safety as our first priority and had two volunteers and an extra head coach on our team. We also fitted her with a helmet and life vest. Overall the experience of teaching Haben is what I love the most about surf instructing. She gave us her 100% trust and faith, which is an honor. I feel like I was put here on earth to do this, share the stoke of surfing!"