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Hidden Pearls Podcast - Operation Surf - Van Curaza, Amanda Curaza & Justin Martinez

At HPP we are all about finding and sharing the “Hidden Pearls” out in the world and inside each of us. Episode 94 is a deep dive into one of the great hidden pearls serving and helping veterans out on the west coast. Operation Surf uses the healing power of water and the ocean’s surf to recalibrate, understand themselves more fully, and move toward healing on all fronts.   

Operation Surf is located on Avila Beach in the central coastal area of California. Their mission is “to channel the healing powers of the ocean to restore hope, renew purpose, and revitalize community.” Operation Surf’s research and curriculum-based programs aim to inspire injured military and veterans to seek wellness in all aspects of their lives while providing the necessary resources, tools, and peer-to-peer support to sustain this mindset over their lifetime.  

Through their own experience with surfing, Operation Surf staff know, and research supports it, that surfing provides strength, confidence, hope, and inspiration. Learning to surf with other veterans in a supported, trust and integrity-based peer connected community, ultimately leads veterans to greater self-efficacy, reduces suicide, and creates greater opportunities for healing of the body, mind, spirit, and soul. Through surfing, veterans connect to the water, themselves, and other veterans. Operation Surf is changing participants’ lives – one wave at a time.  In this show we sit down with Van Curaza (former professional surfer & founder), his wife Amanda Curaza (Director of Operations), and Justin Martinez (a 20-year Army veteran and Operation Surf graduate who now works on their fundraising committee!). In this episode we dive deep into the dark and windy roads the soul must travel through to understand and heal the self, and through the lessons of life fully step into the light on the other side.   

We hear the pain and struggle of transitions, in recovery and in life, and what it takes to move through these stages. We talk about addiction, the road of recovery, learning to check our egos, and the power of asking for help, engaging community through peer-to-peer support, and owning and sharing your story. Those stories lead us to the formation of Operation Surf and its outreach, support, and networking with the veteran community through surfing, eating, talking, and being together. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did in recording it!  All of the links mentioned in the show notes are linked on our YouTube channel or in the podcast descriptions.   Thank you for walking this journey with us! We are so excited and grateful to be sharing these stories in person and continuing our journey to UNITE the world through storytelling.   

Website: Instagram: @operationsurfApply for Program: Trailer: - World Surf League:

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