Surf instructor’s quiet acts of kindness help those with special needs enjoy the ocean

Surf instructor’s quiet acts of kindness help those with special needs enjoy the ocean

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Long before an inspiring video surfaced on social media of Kamalu Rosa carrying a disabled woman to his surfboard, the Waikiki beach surfing instructor had quietly done other acts of kindness.

"I started slow, taking kids on my lessons who couldn't swim, then helping them swim," he said.

Rosa, 43, has helped many people with special needs and physical challenges enjoy the sea.

“I’m just very lucky I can do this for a living. I can help people,” he said.

He sees them on the beach and offers them a free surfing lesson. His broad smile, gentle manner and local boy charm make it easy to say yes.

“I think it’s just his vibe and his spirit. He’s really always 110% into it. He loves what he does,” said Elias Walker, who photographs and videotapes some of Rosa’s lessons.

Rosa's father lost a leg in a car accident. He said that has drawn him to people who can't stand on a surfboard without help.

"I don't think they realize how much it helps me," he said.

The 2013 ESPN film on the life of legendary lifeguard Eddie Akau got Rosa into surfing. He played Aikau in the documentary, but only after getting a thumbs up from the Aikau family.

"Fortunately, Aunty Myra liked me, and the family. I know Clyde and Zane," he said. "There's hardly any footage of Eddie. The re-enactments were very important."

In preparing for the role Rosa learned about Aikau’s selflessness. That got him thinking of ways he could use the ocean to bring people joy.

It lead him to the woman he carried across the beach last week. He learned she has cerebral palsy. He got permission from her family to take on his surfboard.

"It was awesome to see. It really was," said Walker, who filmed the surf lesson and posted the video.

They caught three waves together.

"I just wanted her to stand up and feel standing on a wave," Rosa said.

He said it’s the best surf lesson he has ever given.

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