Jose Martinez makes a six-hour drive down the Southern California coast to go surfing in San Diego and says even though he has struggled a bit throughout his life, he’s never been happier.
Martinez, a U.S. Army veteran who lost both of his legs and his right arm after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2012, was introduced to surfing in 2014 as part of his rehab at the U.S. Navy Hospital.
“After my accident, I never thought I would actually be happy to be honest with you and being out here and surfing and changing the aspect of what's going on with me, it's changed everything for me, honestly,” Martinez told FOX5 San Diego.
Martinez, who is from Compton, never surfed prior to the hospital’s rehab program.
“People forget that it's okay, it's okay to hurt, it's okay to struggle sometimes and because of those struggles, the reason why we laugh and smile at the end of the day is because guess what, we went through it and we survived and we're still here,” Martinez said.
Martinez now has his sights set on the International Access Surf Competition, which takes place in June in Oahu, Hawaii.
“I was told that I couldn't do something and I just want to show them that no matter what they tell you, we're here to push forward and try to live life as best as possible and I'm trying to live my dreams and I think I'm doing great job of it,” he said.