A Special Olympics surfing program launching this summer in Florida could mark the first step towards adding the water sport to the international movement for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Through a partnership with the famed Ron Jon Surf Shop, Special Olympics Florida began offering surf lessons last week to a group of eight adults ages 18 to 43.

All of the athletes are good swimmers but organizers did worry about how they would fare on surfboards. The inaugural lessons, however, appeared to be a hit. Even skeptical athletes say they went home from Cocoa Beach excited by the adrenaline rush.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Local success is the first step toward surfing becoming part of the Special Olympics repertoire of sports. But in order to be accepted nationally, the program would first need to expand throughout Florida and then in several other states. What’s more, if Special Olympics programs in multiple countries started to embrace surfing, it could be included at the global level.

The last sport to gain international inclusion was judo in 2007, reports the Orlando Sentinel. To read more click here.