The ocean has inspired mankind for years. We came from the water, and to the water we have remained eternally faithful. And of all the sports that take place above and below the waves, there is none that inspires more passion than surfing. With a history that dates back to 12th century Polynesia, indeed, it is also one of the oldest sport pastimes, and so it is that the non-profit One More Wave taps into this primal power to help disabled American veterans recover from the trauma of war and find their smiles again.
Founded by retired Navy SEAL Alex West, One More Wave provides custom surfboards for vets who have suffered amputations and more in the course of their service. By working hand-in-hand with master surfboard shapers and artists, One More Wave can adapt a board to suit pretty much any physical challenge, including even triple amputations. Just as important as providing the equipment, One More Wave offers the support necessary to get their clients out on the waves on the road to emotional recovery.
In retrospect, it seems that Alex was fated to found this non-profit. A lifelong surfer himself, his tours of duty include the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by eleven years with Naval Special Warfare Development Group. It was after a helicopter crash placed him in the hospital, and his experiences during his arduous convalescence and subsequent volunteer work with Balboa Naval Hospital Surf Clinic that he got the idea to combine surf therapy and art therapy.
At Balboa he realized there was a subset of injured vets who had the desire to surf, but didn’t have the ability to use a surfboard due the nature of their injuries. And so it was that Alex set out to create his first board. At the time he raised funds by selling t-shirts from the back of his truck, but it was a trip to the bookstore that supercharged his efforts to get One More Wave off the ground.
Having decided that creating a proper non-profit would be the way to go, Alex hit the self-help section to see if he could find a book that would help guide him along the way. Unfortunately, most of the titles on display were authored by folks with Ph.Ds and using language that was above his pay grade. It wasn’t until his eyes ran across the cover for “Non-Profit Kit for Dummies” that he realized that he could do this.
600 surfboards later and the rest, as they say, his history.
Enter Ulysse Nardin
This isn’t One More Wave’s first rodeo with Ulysse Nardin. In 2019 UN President for North America, François-Xavier Hotier had lunch with One More Wave COO Kyle Bucket, and thus the Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive ‘One More Wave’ Limited Edition was born. Designed as it was, “on a napkin in a SEAL dive bar,” this first collaboration was a rather severe, “tactical” timepiece which took the macho ethos to the extreme with a 1000M titanium diver as its canvas. It was a bold statement, and one that found success within the collector community. But more importantly, it cemented the relationship between the two companies and brought some much needed attention to the work that Alex and his compatriots were doing.
Fast forward to today and the Ulysse-Nardin Diver Chronometer 44mm One More Wave makes its debut. Designed with input from Alex himself (he’s also a graphic designer) the sophomore collaboration hits a more playful note with teal and gray highlights that echo One More Wave’s logo – “California cool”, in Alex’s words. As before, the case is crafted from DLC-coated titanium, while underneath the delightfully textured dial beats the manufacture cal. UN-118 movement, replete with a silicon escapement and Diamonsil anchor visible through a sapphire crystal display back.
Overall the watch reflects Alex’s contention that the ocean should be welcoming and fun, but blessed as it is with a proper dive-spec 300M of water-resistance, it can take whatever its owner can dish out, on sea, air, or land.
So, what’s next for One More Wave? More chapters, definitely. At present they operate in Oahu, San Diego and North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, but the goal is to open more chapters and bring the healing power of surfing to those who need it. Alex would also like to open up their ranks to law enforcement officers, first responders, and Gold Star families, and eventually, expand internationally. But for now, there’s work to be done on these shores, and the ranks of One More Wave surfers continues to grow. Members include some of the biggest names in adaptive surfing, including triple-amputee Jose Martinez and gold medal-winning Para Olympian Dan Cnossen.
It’s clear that One More Wave is only just getting started, and with this second collaboration, Ulysse Nardin has made it clear that they are on board to catch the big waves too.
Movement: Caliber UN 118, automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Case: Titanium with black DLC treatment, 44 x 14.81mm, water-resistant to 300m
Strap: Grey rubber strap with ceramic element and buckle
Price and availability: Limited to 100 pieces, USD 11,500