This story comes to us from Angie Heuser, a LAKA from Phoenix. Within months of her operation, she resumed running; a few weeks later she took up surfing. Follow her journey at

Angie Heuser rides the waves on one leg

Mana is the Hawaiian word for power. The power of the wave as it takes you. It’s an amazing feeling once you get out on the water and glide with that power. The power of that wave comes from beneath the water’s surface. It’s in constant movement, almost as if in conflict with itself. The power changes as it encounters the terrain of the ocean floor. It’s an incredible feeling to release yourself to the power of the ocean and use it to feel the stoke of catching your first wave.

Last month I had the opportunity to head to Kauai. We have had the good fortune to go the last several years, but for every year we went, I was injured, or recovering from surgeries. I never got to really get in the ocean, never got to experience the Mana of the waters — until this year, that is.

After losing my leg I was determined to get back up and not let my life be dictated or defined by my amputation. I set goal upon goal. If I didn’t have some crazy hard goal to reach, I probably would’ve gotten caught in a rut and felt sorry for myself. Knowing this trip was upon us, I decided with only four weeks to go that I’d let my PT know I’d come up with my next BIG goal: surfing!

He asked if I’d ever surfed; nope! But I was determined to do something new and face the fear of trying it without a leg. I had no previous surfing experience, so I could create the feeling of catching a wave for the first time to this feeling, with a prosthetic. Why not?

Surfing as an amputee: Power comes from within

Mana: power. It is within each of us, lying just underneath the surface. It is given to us by a higher power and can be turbulent depending what’s going on below the surface; just like the ocean’s Mana.

I found amazing people in Kauai at the Hanalei Surf School. I don’t believe they usually get many amputees, but Jimmy became my instructor. Jimmy is the one who explained Mana. When I was out on my board in the middle of that big, blue ocean, feeling those waves glide below me and around me, I could feel the Mana. It was incredible. To start to paddle with that power just below me and then to stand and be driven forward by it, it was a feeling like no other.

Like the ocean, our power comes from within — from the depths of our souls. And it’s just as beautiful. We have the power to love, accept and help each other. We also have the power to hate, tear down and destroy. What will you do with your power?

Mana, a power that is so beautiful and so strong, can drive you forward or knock you backward. Find your balance, keep your eyes forward, slow down.

Hey Jimmy, I found my palm tree to focus on. Find beauty in the Mana within you. Mahalo hoa!