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Clinic will teach amputees to surf 

The Association of Amputee Surfers will give lessons at Pismo Beach on April 10

click to enlarge STOKED :  Julie Carruthers, the volunteer coordinator of fundraising for AmpSurf, will ride at the event. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMPSURF
  • STOKED : Julie Carruthers, the volunteer coordinator of fundraising for AmpSurf, will ride at the event.
Consider how surfing can heal as well as thrill. Last year, Julie Carruthers, who’s now the volunteer coordinator of fundraising for The Association of Amputee Surfers (AmpSurf), searched for aquatic sports she could join. Her Google quest took her to the organization website, where she learned the group has helped hundreds of disabled veterans and others in the disabled community experience the healing powers of the ocean and adaptive surfing.

On Saturday April 10, at Pismo Beach, the nonprofit group will host one in a series of surf clinics for people with disabilities. The lessons will start at 8 a.m. and continue to 12:30 p.m. Instructors will cover the basics of surfing on the beach, then guide participants in the waves. “We get surf and water safety instruction from a surf instructor volunteer, and then they get us out there. There are two or three volunteers per participant who make you feel very secure,” Carruthers related.

Carruthers had been a black-diamond skier but lost her leg to bone cancer nine years ago. She refers to her limb loss as a high-level amputation, known technically as hemipelvectomy, in which the leg is removed up to the pelvis. At first, she turned to adaptive snow and water skiing, but soon sought more adventures.  When she became involved with AmpSurf, she wanted only to help, not participate, because she assumed it was strictly for injured soldiers. But Executive Director Dana Cummings encouraged her to get in the water at the first clinic last year.  “It was absolutely the thrill of my life. It opens up your mind: If I can do this, then, what else can I do? It was the camaraderie of the other participants and the other volunteers that meant even more to me than getting up on the board,” Carruthers remembered.

The program was originally devoted to maimed veterans, but is now open to people with any disability. Participants include individuals who are blind, paraplegic, and who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The clinic will be held on the south side of Pismo Beach Pier. Look for a tent. Everyone is encouraged to attend to support the participants; volunteers are especially welcome and are urged to visit the website for preliminary information.

Following the clinic, there will be a fundraiser dinner and silent auction at California Pizza Kitchen at 836 Marsh Street in downtown San Luis Obispo. The party starts at 2:30 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. Those who can’t attend can take the flyer from the website to the restaurant later that night and California Pizza Kitchen restaurant will donate 20 percent of their meal proceeds to the organization. “Join the event to help us revitalize people with the healing power of the ocean,” Carruthers urged.

Fast Facts

Donations are urgently needed for the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter and Prado Day Center. The number of children, women, and men who lack shelter is dramatically increasing: Food, blankets, clothing, hygiene products, and backpacks are in very short supply.  For more info contact Dee Torres, Director of Homeless Services at 786-0617

The 2010 Discovery Dining 2-for-1 Dining and Entertainment Guide is available at Albertson’s supermarkets and online at  The guide contains more than 450 coupons to local restaurants with two-for-the-price-of-one breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  It also includes120 discount and special offer coupons to wineries from Paso Robles to Santa Ynez and 80 free wine tastings. The book cost $28, pays for itself with one use, and is valid until the end of 2010.

The grand opening of a new, larger
public library in Cayucos
will take place on Friday, April 16 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Singer Ginger Hendrix accompanied by her husband Pete on the banjo will perform songs for children and harpist Cindy Meyers will play classical selections. The library is located at 310 B Street, on the campus of Cayucos Elementary School. Call 781-5785 for more information.

Contributing writer Tanya Gallardo compiled Strokes&Plugs this week. Send your business and nonprofit news to [email protected].





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