The Incredible Moment A Deaf And Blind Woman, 27, Learns To SURF

The Incredible Moment A Deaf And Blind Woman, 27, Learns To SURF

It’s easy to become bogged-down in the challenges of our lives. How many of us complain that there are not enough hours in the day? How many times have we seen something as impossible to “work-in” to or schedule? One woman who has been denied the benefits of sight and hearing has proven to all of us how anything is possible and her story is going viral. Watch in amazement as a deaf and blind woman learns to surf:


A 27-year-old deaf and blind woman decided to challenge herself this weekend when she learned to surf in San Diego.

Haben Girma, who was born blind and deaf and is now a disability rights attorney, took to the waves on Saturday at Swami’s Beach with help from a surf instructor.

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‘One of the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities are negative attitudes – people assuming that someone who’s blind can’t do something, or assuming that someone that uses a wheelchair can’t do something, but anything’s possible,’ Girma, from Berkeley, told CBS 8

So Girma, the first blind and deaf Harvard Law School graduate, has decided to keep challenging herself.

‘I’ve decided to explore the question, ‘Can I learn to surf?’,’ Girma said.

Girma was named a White House Champion of Change and has given a TEDx talk on disability advocacy and public-service lawyers.

Her surf instructor, coach Matt Allen of the Maui Surf Academy, was worried about communication, but they persevered and used physical queues to get their timing in sync.

‘It’s obviously going to be tough to communicate as well as we normally can,’ he told CBS 8. ‘There’s nothing i’d rather do than help someone’s dreams come true.’

Girma tole NBC News that technology doesn’t work for communication in the water like it does on land.

‘So I’m excited to be having a lesson with Matt and to learn to surf, and see where we can go without technology and with the opportunities of physical communication and the ocean and a wonderful surf team,’ she said.

Girma said if she fell, she would get back up again.

‘Success comes about through lots of failure, and I’m not afraid to fall,’ she said of this weekend’s adventure.

‘I’m not afraid to get in the water, try something new, look silly for a little bit, because I know in the end, we’re going to learn something and develop skills in the process.’

She told NBC News that she prepared for her surf lessons through many different ways.

‘I’ve been preparing for surf lessons by thinking about all the different ways people can communicate without using their voices or using hearing or vision,’ she said. ‘So thinking about tactile ways to communicate different surfing position, getting familiar with surfboards and getting familiar with the surf communicate.’

She said she liked the ocean because of its size and and it’s symbol of possibility.

‘Surfing is fun for me because it’s nice to be out in the ocean. The ocean is huge! And the ocean is symbolic of all the possibilities out there,’ she told CBS 8.

She doesn’t know what her next challenge is, but she wants to learn as many things as she can.

This video is not likely to change many lives but will, hopefully, garner some perspective for those who assert that life’s challenges are insurmountable.

Does this inspire you to live a better, fuller life?

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