Surfers show off their abilities

Holly Franklin feels the stoke.
Holly Franklin feels the stoke. Blainey Woodham

AN EXAMPLE of just how disabled these surfers are not.

That was what today's Cocky Classic Hands on Surfing Day was, thanks to the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia.

Close to 100 blue-shirted volunteers turned out to assist yellow-shirted disabled surfers gain speeds and freedoms of movement normally impossible.

The Kingscliff event, which has been running for five years, was for the first time a collaboration between the Far North and Gold Coast DSA branches.

Gold Coast branch president Craig Castles said the north coast branch covered from Minnie Water to the Tweed Shire.

"So we were thinking 'we can go anywhere and surf anywhere we like, why not offer it to our guys?'.

"So (Peter) 'Cocky' (Stannard) and myself decided to do it as a joint venture."

Mr Stannard asked the Daily News to pass on special thanks to Tweed Shire Council for its support.

Amputee and Family Support Group executive committee member Holly Franklin said she joined in as a spy.

"I joined the group last year, and amputees are mostly older people," Ms Franklin said.

"We've been looking for events that will get more young people involved, and I came across these guys."

She said the idea of a combined, cross-border event was "pretty cool".

"I've been quite impressed with how well things are organised.

"I could have quite easily chosen a surf school, but the most common amputation is legs.

"These guys would accommodate them more than a normal surf school."

Current members of the Queensland-based group would enjoy disabled surfing and it could be used to attract new, younger members, Ms Franklin said.

"As far as I'm aware from the events we do, it's mostly barbecues with a majority of older people.

"No-one under 40 wants to just sit around - they want to do stuff, they want to get out there.

"As far as the Disabled Surfers Association, they're like 'ok, you might be missing a bit, but let's just go out there and have a good time'."

She said the support group might even be able to find new members at disabled surfing events.

"Our main goal is to provide support before an amputation, try to match them up with other amputees, or to support their families.

"The young might adopt the attitude 'whatever', but their parents may need someone to talk to."

Visit www.surfershelpingsurfers.com for more information.

Topics:  cocky classic hands on surfing day, disabled surfers association



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