Operation Surf, a program that supports recovering veterans through surfing, began its week-long event in Avila Beach on Sunday.
The program includes two days of traveling and five days of adaptive surfing, according to their official website. Participants will also get peer-to-peer support, do daily yoga, and enjoy group meals throughout the week.
Participants of the program told KSBY that surfing has helped them heal and be present.
"I'm fully home with my body because I'll get my butt kicked out here if I'm not aware and I'm not awake," said Kim Clark, Veteran support and alumni of the program.
Clark first joined the program in 2018 and has returned twice to support new participants.
Holley Morin, a new participant in the program, said she has found community and support here.
"I think the best part is meeting other like-minded veterans and meeting people that actually care about their veterans," said Morin. "I think this program is going to continue to help people just live their lives, especially the veterans."
Operation Surf takes place multiple times a year and accepts eight applicants from across the country per week-long program. Participants must be active duty, active reservists, or honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with service-connected injuries (visible or invisible), according to the website.
"You belong here. You deserve it as much as anybody else," said Clark. "Don't think that somebody has it worse than you and that you don't deserve it or shouldn't be here, because everyone who's struggling should be here."