On Saturday, April 6, in what was likely a first, Kealoha Dime paddled on Agua Hedionda Lagoon using a modified stand-up paddleboard.
The invention of Kawika (David Watt) from Carlsbad Surf Adventures came about after a visit to Carlsbad-based Project Walk, which specializes in the healing and physical recovery of people with spinal-cord injuries.
Joining forces with Scott Chandler of Chandler Surf, a prototype stand-up paddleboard with stabilizing outriggers and modifications to secure a wheelchair was developed. With the user’s wheelchair secured to the board, the paddler can enjoy the physical and peaceful benefits of lagoon paddling. A ramp system connected the board from the shore to provide access.
Project Walk identified Kealoha Dime as the test pilot. Dime was injured in February 2012 during a high-performance parachute “swooping” competition. Since that time, Dime has been recovering at Project Walk and has trained for bobsled competition at Utah’s Paralympic Developmental School Olympic Track.
Over 50 paddlers on various crafts joined Dime for the paddle along the north shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The paddle ended with a celebration that included Carlsbad mayor Matt Hall. Other Project Walk athletes tried out the prototype board as well.