NewsPositively San Diego


Local surfer competing in the Adaptive Surfing Championships World Tour

Parker Olenick was born with cerebral palsy, but he has let that stop him from his passion for hitting the waves.
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Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 21:26:58-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — The Challenged Athletes Foundation has helped thousands of athletes fulfill their competitive dreams, and that would include 18-year-old Parker Olenick.

"Life on land is more uncomfortable for me than when I'm out there (ocean)."

Olenick was born with cerebral palsy but hasn't let that stop him from his passion, and that is surfing.

"It's therapy for me, so I feel like I have to do it."

Parker's dad was the person who introduced him to surfing, and quite naturally, Olenick says he was a little fearful at first.

"It was intimidating, and I had to get over that first hump of initial fear. It was the fear of the unknown."

The fear is now gone, and now Olenick tries to surf seven days a week.

"The ocean is just so full of good energy that you just want to be around it. You want to float all the time."

Now thanks in part to CAF, Parker not only surfs locally, he has had the chance to surf all over the world. He now competes in the Adaptive Surfing World Championships World Tour.

"In a couple weeks we head to Japan. Then in May we have the first stop of the world tour in Hawaii. It's a great competition with almost 100 competitors from all over the world, and they all share the same passion for the sport, and really want to win."

Olenick says surfing has helped create a path in his life and he is living the dream. At the same time, while it's a lot of fun, he points out that surfing for him is a process and a struggle at times.

"What people don't see is I have to put my wet suit on at home and it takes me about 20 minutes to get it on. I'm flailing around and it's a struggle. When I am on the beach I have to crawl across the sand to get to the cold water, but I wouldn't want to do it any other way."

Olenick now heads to Japan ranked 4th in the Adapted Surfing rankings, and is looking to bring home another trophy.