Disabled Surfers Association Sunshine Coast is calling for volunteers to take to the water with them on Saturday, 29 October and help put ‘smiles on the dials’ of people with disabilities.
This year will mark the tenth year a group of passionate local volunteers has come together to give people with a range of disabilities an opportunity to ride some waves and have a whole lot of fun.
Disabled Surfers Association Sunshine Coast President Tim Byrne said having volunteered as part of the initiative for 12 years, he had seen first-hand the positive impact the experience had on participants.
“We have people who look forward to these events all year and focus heavily on their rehabilitation and adapting their regular physical activity to ensure they can get in the water and take part,” said Mr Byrne.
“Once they are in the waves their smiles are infectious and they experience such a rush – they are really putting themselves out there and making the most of the opportunity.”
Over 100 volunteers attend each event, but the more volunteers that can assist, the more time surfers can spend in the water.
“Each surfer has a team leader assigned to them and then up to 15 volunteers to help negotiate the waves and keep them on the board,” said Mr Byrne.
“While you don’t need to be a surfer to get involved, volunteers do need to be relatively fit and strong to be out in the water. The many hands help and we will never turn anyone away.”
“We are just a passionate group of volunteers that believe that the joy of surfing should be available for anyone to experience no matter what your abilities.”
Studies have shown physical activity for a person with a disability is important in not only reducing the risk of secondary health problems but also in improving all levels of functioning, including mental health*.
Councilor Jason O’Pray said he and his family had been volunteers for the organization for a few years and enthused that the event was a very special way to spend a Saturday morning.
“It is quite an emotional experience seeing how much joy this event brings to the surfers and also to the volunteers,” said Cr O’Pray.
“We always go as a family and my kids have really learnt a lot about what a special gift volunteering can be.”
“I’d encourage any Coast community members that may have a few hours to spare to come along and lend a hand; we’d love to see as many people down on the beach as possible.”
Disabled Surfers Association Sunshine Coast is one of the 16 branches of the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia, which has been operating since 1986 and is dedicated to providing this unique experience.
Volunteers are welcomed at the Caloundra event being held at Ballinger Beach on Saturday, 29 October as well as upcoming events on Saturday, 26 November in Maroochydore and Saturday, 4 February at Main Beach, Noosa.
Volunteers are asked to be there by 8.30am and do not need to register in advance. To find out more and keep informed about all the events, like the Disabled Surfers Association Sunshine Coast on Facebook or visit www.disabledsurfers.org/qld/sunshine-coast-branch.