SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — There will be a few extra surfers in the water at Santa Cruz and Capitola this weekend as the organization Operation Surf teaches wounded veterans how to ride a wave.

For most of them, it really isn’t about the surfing lessons.

The Beach Boys sang, “Catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world.” For an injured army veteran like Ronald Knowles, it means much more than that.

“I just felt normal being out there,” said the veteran Knowles.

“Normal” isn’t something he has felt since his motorcycle accident two years ago.

“Before my accident, I considered myself to be very active,” said Knowles. “I love being able to be outside and do all kinds of recreational type stuff.”

On Friday, in the sun and crashing waves of Santa Cruz, the non-profit Operation Surf is helping Knowles and about a dozen other wounded veterans and active duty military feel the restorative power of the ocean, as well as the group’s support team of volunteers out on the water.