AccesSurf helps those with disabilities discover water sports

Opening up an ocean of possibilities for participants

Sponsored by Cutter Ford

AccesSurf is a nonprofit working to build an inclusive community that empowers people with disabilities through accessible beach and water programs. Founded in 2006, the charity organization offers a variety of programs, services, and events that help children, adults and wounded veterans discover their level of abilities in the ocean.

In following the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku, AccesSurf continues to be a pioneer in the advancement of adaptive water sports, ocean recreation, and therapeutic instruction for people with disabilities throughout Hawaii and around the world. The simple act of being in the water provides freedom, physical exercise improves overall health and being part of a community is a pathway to true empowerment.

Cara Short started with AccesSurf as a volunteer in 2008. In 2012, she started part-time as the program coordinator, and in 2014, became the executive director. She’s also a surfer, sailor, and passionate waterwoman.

“AccesSurf changed my life from the very first event I attended. Something about the vibe and the energy and being together to share our passion for the ocean,” she says. “I have several family members with disabilities living in Canada, and I always dream that they could have a community like AccesSurf.”

AccesSurf’ flagship monthly program is called, “Day at the Beach” and is held on the first Saturday of each month at White Plains Beach Park. Featuring assisted swimming and floating, as well as surfing, trained volunteers and specialized equipment make sure participants enjoy the water. The organization also offers a monthly Wounded Warrior Day at the Beach.

Currently, AccesSurf is looking to replace its equipment vehicle, which is vital to its programs because it’s used to transport program equipment. With the help of Cutter Ford, the organization is now able to raise funds to get a new equipment van to continue operations.

For those looking for more information about the AccesSurf and its programs, visit to see the organization’s events calendar and how you can get involved as a participant, volunteer or donor.

For more information:, Facebook: @accessurf, IG: @accessurf_hawaii