Disabled surfers brave the waves

Dozens of disabled people in Rio are conquering the waves. Men and women with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, people missing a limb, the blind, the deaf and even the paralyzed all hit the waves at Leblon.  A Rio-based non-governmental organization aims to make beaches accessible to the disabled and encourage them to practice water sports.

In this March 16, 2013 photo, surfing students exercise on their boards before hitting the waves at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dozens of disabled people in Rio are conquering the waves. Men and women with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, people missing a limb, the blind, the deaf and even the paralyzed all hit the waves at Leblon. They all require a different kind of assistance depending on their disabilities and maneuver their boards in different ways - some standing, some on their knees, others flat on their bellies and using their body weight to steer the boards. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 16, 2013 photo, AdaptSurf co-founder and physical therapist Luiz Phelipe Nobre, center, teaches surfing lessons at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AdaptSurf is a Rio-based non-governmental organization that aims to make beaches accessible to the disabled and encourage them to practice water sports. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 10, 2013, Tomas Pereira Machado rests on his surfboard at Leblon beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dozens of disabled people on this special strip of Rio de Janeiro beach are conquering the waves. Men and women with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, people missing a limb, the blind, the deaf and even the paralyzed all hit the waves at Leblon. They all require a different kind of assistance depending on their disabilities and maneuver their boards in different ways - some standing, some on their knees, others flat on their bellies and using their body weight to steer the boards. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 10, 2013 photo, a surfboard tagged with a disabled symbol sits on the sand in Leblon beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dozens of disabled people on this special strip of Rio de Janeiro beach are conquering the waves. Men and women with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, people missing a limb, the blind, the deaf and even the paralyzed all hit the waves at Leblon. They all require a different kind of assistance depending on their disabilities and maneuver their boards in different ways - some standing, some on their knees, others flat on their bellies and using their body weight to steer the boards. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 10, 2013 photo, AdaptSurf co-founder and physical therapist Luiz Phelipe Nobre pulls the wheelchair holding Renata Glasner, on Leblon beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Glasner, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago, is one of dozens of disabled people on this special strip of Rio de Janeiro beach who is conquering the waves. Glasner is able to savor that experience on a weekly basis thanks to AdaptSurf, a Rio-based non-governmental organization that aims to make beaches accessible to the disabled and encourage them to practice water sports. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 16, 2013 photo, Camila Fuchs, right, is accompanied by an AdaptSurf volunteer as they head out to sea to catch some waves, at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AdaptSurf is a Rio-based non-governmental organization that aims to make beaches accessible to the disabled and encourage them to practice water sports. The organization is the first of its kind in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 10, 2013 photo, Renata Glasner, is helped by AdaptSurf volunteers into the water at Leblon beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Glasner, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago, is one of dozens of disabled people on this special strip of Rio de Janeiro beach who is conquering the waves. Glasner is able to savor that experience on a weekly basis thanks to AdaptSurf, a Rio-based non-governmental organization that aims to make beaches accessible to the disabled and encourage them to practice water sports. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 16, 2013 photo, AdaptSurf co-founder and surfer Henrique Saraiva rides a wave at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He and two friends created the organization in 2007, some 10 years after a mugging left Saraiva partially paralyzed. The then-18-year-old was cycling near his home when he was set upon by several young men who were after his bike. One of them pulled a gun. A single shot went in through his stomach and lodged in his spinal column. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In this March 16, 2013 photo, Monique Oliveira is aided by an AdaptSurf volunteer as a wave breaks at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AdaptSurf is a Rio-based non-governmental organization that aims to make beaches accessible to the disabled and encourage them to practice water sports. The organization is the first of its kind in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)