Florida boy surfs his dream in Waikiki

Joey Gibbs
Joey Gibbs
Matt Gibbs
Matt Gibbs

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - Squinting under the hot sun, 12-year-old Joey Gibbs takes in the beautiful sights of Waikiki.

"Everyone says that this is the number one place to go on vacation and that when you're in Hawaii you have to surf," Gibbs said.

He and his 10 family members from Florida came to Hawaii to do just that. For Joey, however, this is no Hawaiian vacation. It will be the ride of a life time.

"Oh, I'm, I'm just so nervous right now!" Gibbs said.

A motor cross accident in September left Joey paralyzed from the waist down.

"He hit a jump wrong and he broke his back and severed his spinal cord," explained Gibb's father Matt.

During months of rehab, time and again, Joey's proved there are no limits. He would prove that again thanks to the Dream Come True Foundation and Access Surf, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities experience ocean activities.

"I feel so blessed and I want to thank everyone for making this happen," said Joey Gibbs.

Access Surf instructors fit him with a life vest and lifted him out of his wheel chair and onto a long board. After a brief lesson, the group paddled out.

"We have an agreement and the agreement is that no matter what happens no matter what he wants to do, we'll make it happen. That wheel chair's not going to stop him from doing whatever it is he wants to do," said Matt Gibbs.

It didn't take very long before Joey caught his first wave with the help of an Access Surf instructor. His parents cheered from the shore and waved a shaka while taking pictures. Joey smiled and flashed a shaka back. Joey's dad says his son's dreams don't end here in Hawaii.

"If you want to fly an airplane, you'll fly an airplane and when we get back to Florida he has an appointment to fly an airplane."