AccesSurf Honors Paddler Rich Julian
Hawaii Kai resident Rich Julian is a great surfer and paddler, but it’s what he’s done out of the water that is making waves.
His work to ensure that people with disabilities still enjoy the ocean inspired AccesSurf to recognize him as one of its two 2014 Ocean of Possibilities Award winners.
Julian, who always has loved surfing and the ocean, was paralyzed in a car accident when he was 14. Undaunted, he spent his time at Kalani High School playing basketball and tennis. After graduating, however, he discovered specialized surfboards that would get him back on the waves.
He worked with Mark Marble to found AccesSurf, which is dedicated to making ocean experiences accessible. The nonprofit group sponsors monthly beach days, where it brings out its adaptive equipment for public use. Julian initially served as its vice president, but has since gone on to find success in competitive six-man canoe paddling, and he has raced internationally. He also sits on the board of directors for Pure Light Racing.
Julian was honored alongside Ralph Goto, former administrator of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division of the city Department of Emergency Services. Ceremonies were held at AccesSurf’s annual fundraiser at Hard Rock Café in May.