Atascadero man brings international para surfing championship to Pismo Beach
In attendance were 134 athletes representing 24 nations
– On Monday, the 2021 Pismo Beach ISA World Para Surfing Championship Hosted by AmpSurf officially opened with record participation. AmpSurf, a non-profit organization for adaptive surf training and certification, was founded by Atascadero’s own Dana Cummings. It is the largest edition of the ISA World Para Surfing Championship to be held for the past six years.
In attendance were 134 athletes representing 24 nations and 9 different Para Surfing Sport Classes that descended on the beautiful stretch of California’s Central Coast with one goal in mind: to bring home gold for themselves and their teams. Addressing the crowd of Pismo Beach City Dignitaries, athletes, participants, and spectators on the stage of the opening ceremonies in the Pismo Beach Pier Plaza, overlooking his home beach, President and Founder of AmpSurf, Dana Cummings, shared an emotional welcome announcing, “I’ve already won a gold medal today, to have you all here! I’m so blessed.” Athletes with a variety of physical abilities provided the platform for an incredible display of surfing as much more than just a sport.
Cummings was raised on a farm in Livermore Falls in Maine by his mother from Wilton and his father from Livermore Falls. Cummings says he left Maine to join the Marine Corps to become “one of the Few and the Proud, and to keep out of trouble.” He went on to serve in both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
In 2002, Cummings lost his lower left leg in a car accident. By 2003, he created the AmpSurf Learn to Surf Program to help rehabilitate the disabled through the healing power of adaptive surfing and the ocean. Since that time, as the Founder and Executive Director of AmpSurf, Cummings champions the benefits of adaptive surfing certification programs. These programs offer this valuable therapy to people with perceived limitations around the globe, many of whom would never have been given an opportunity to realize their abilities and compete in a Paralympic-style World Championship competition supported by the International Surfing Association (ISA).
In 2012, Cummings purchased a home in Atascadero and is an active member of the Atascadero community. He has been involved with youth sports and scouts with his two young boys. He says, “What I love most about living in beautiful Atascadero is the quiet, charming country feel of my community, while still being part of an active town that has all the amenities of a bigger city.” Cummings regularly leads adaptive surf clinics in Pismo Beach that available to all people living with disabilities, veterans and first responders.
Most recently, Cummings lobbied for the 2021 Pismo Beach ISA World Championship Para Surfing Competition to be held in Pismo Beach, California, from Dec. 6-11, 2021. He wanted to spread the word about the impact adaptive surfing has had on the lives of people around the world. Cummings’ leadership and championing of the global adaptive surf movement is why the 2021 Pismo Beach ISA World Para Surfing Championship Hosted by AmpSurf is being held Pismo Beach, California, and is a historic and inspirational event. For people who love the sport of surfing, this event is a testament to the abilities of both the human body and spirit. Cummings says he believes that surfing makes the world better. Additionally, he educates the world on the significance of para surfing and the help it provides athletes by focusing on their abilities and overcoming perceived physical limitations.
Qualifying heats continue throughout the week, with final competitions and awards on Saturday. To learn more about Cummings and AmpSurf visit AmpSurf.org.