Forgot something? No worries just run up the stairs to get it, stand up straight, walk on the beach, speak, listen, confused? These things are so easy aren’t they? Well not for some people, for some they’ve never been on a beach, touched the ocean, seen the ocean. For people with disabilities everyday movements and/or communication require a lot more effort but movement, communication these are never impossible….
There are groups of volunteers all over Australia who take people of all ages and all disabilities surfing, yep surfboard, waves anyone can do it.
These groups are the Disabled Surfing Association, they raise money to develop access points at beaches for wheelchairs, they have designed special wheelchairs to move easily over soft sand and into the water, they have designed special wetsuits and they have events every year where everyone is welcome to come down and help those with disabilities ride a wave or even get one with them.Â
The event days welcome everyone to come down, whether you are a participant with a disability or whether you just want to help out, you don’t need any surfing experience you just need to smile. That’s what it’s about that’s why DSA began, it’s to stop isolating people with disabilities, and give them the experience that can come so easily to us, to put “smiles on dials.”
I’ve spoken in past blogs about the therapeutic affect of the ocean, the healing affect to the soul. It’s actually scientific knowledge that the negative ions in the air increase when your are in a natural clean setting. These ions enhance our mood, enhance our senses and provide relief from things such as allergies and migraines. The negative ions will stimulate Â the reticuloendothelial system which is a group of defence cells which assist in the resistance to disease, the ions will also promote alpha brain waves which increase brain wave amplitude to result in higher awareness and to be more alert. The benefits of being outside and by the ocean are the same for everyone.
Over the past 4 years I have volunteered at Disabled Surfing events, and it was last year that I joined the committee for the Mornington Peninsula branch and took this passion to take away the word impossible and open the hearts of people with disabilities and the volunteers that anything is possible.
So how do we take for instance a quadriplegic surfing? Well we help them onto a surfboard and get them into the water just like anyone else. With our volunteers a channel is made for the surfer so we have line either side, this is their cheer squad. When a wave comes an expert wave rider will jump on the back of the board locking our surfer in and ride it through the line of cheering and hooting people as far as possible, the cheer squad is there for a quick pick up if we happen to wipe out. If there is a wipe out, well I hope no one expects to not get their hair wet, to have that water fully over you from head to toe is all part of the fun.
To be a part of this day is not just about doing a good thing, you are changing peoples lives, you are giving hope, possibility and the participants will have these feelings as well.
It is the most fun most uplifting experience you will ever have the joy of being a part of.
Saturday February 9 we will be having our first event day at Pt Leo beach BalnarringÂ Foreshore Western PdeÂ Point Leo VIC 3916.
Make a difference to your life and someone else’s and volunteer. See you there at 8am.