Surfing is difficult for many people to master, but for Mitchell Solomon-Coombs, the sport poses an especially unique challenge because the 22-year-old is unable to walk.
Solomon-Coombs was born with various neurological disorders and was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, as a teenager.
He also lost his ability to walk after several sports injuries and uses a wheelchair to get around. But ever since discovering surfing in Southern California at Huntington Beach last summer, Solomon-Coombs hasn't looked back.
"I stood up on a surfboard and I hadn't been able to walk in over two years," Solomon-Coombs said. "Ever since then, I caught my first wave and I said, 'I love this water.' It's great therapy for me and I'm going to keep trying this out."
Many who encounter Solomon-Coombs, like surfer Cassidy McClain, who competed in the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, are inspired by his story.
"Just his passion for trying to go out and surf, even though he has a disability, it's not stopping him," McClain said. "He's amazing, he's an inspiration."
Solomon-Coombs is originally from Texas, but discovered a love of surfing while on vacation with his family in Huntington Beach last summer.
He soon found many supporters in the surfing community, including friend Lindsey Potter.
"He draws people with his passion," Potter said. "He's in a wheelchair and he's the happiest kid I've ever met."
This summer, Solomon-Coombs is vacationing by himself for the first time, and as he looks toward the future, said he hopes to one day make his surfing lifestyle a little more permanent.
"I would love to live anywhere in Southern California, but we'll see," Solomon-Coombs said. "One step at a time."