BOISE — Adaptive athletes of all ages participated in a multisport and the first-ever adaptive paddleboarding clinic coached by elite athletes this month.
"They had like a mini-triathlon," said CAF athlete Tommy Schroeder. "I learned a lot and had a lot of fun."
"It was fun there was hand cycling, wheelchair racing, and paddleboarding," said CAF athlete Brooklyn Gossard. "It makes me feel like I can do anything I want to do like a bunch of sports."
The athletes learned the correct skills for competing in a para-triathlon from Team USA Paratriathlon coaches Mark Sortino, Becki Walters, Teresa Skinner, Jamie Brown, and Adaptive Surfing World Champion, Christiaan Bailey.
“I just think it’s really neat that she gets to comingle with people that are so accomplished and learn directly from them it's pretty amazing,” said Brooklyn's mother, Allison Gossard.
But, for the athletes, the CAF-Idaho clinics are about a lot more than just sports.
“You know just those things where she has a tribe of people that understand what it is like to be different, and they all accept each other and support each other, and they aren’t going to find that anywhere else in the world,” said Allison.
A place where Shroeder said a lasting comradery is formed between the athletes and coaches.
"We all lean on each other and help out each other to see different ways we can help someone else do these things at a better pace,” he said. "Nobody judges anyone. It's a great place to be."
Something that has inspired Brooklyn to dream big and work towards going to the Paralympics.
"That's the goal, either skiing, sled hockey, surfing, racing, or hand-cycling, haha," she said.
When asked about her favorite part of the clinic, without a doubt, Brooklyn said all of the different sports.
“People like us can do more than people think we can," she said.
CAF-Idaho provides athletes with adaptive equipment, including the paddleboard, that allows them to stay in their wheelchair and paddle independently.
To learn more about their upcoming clinics, click here.