RIDING HIGH: Surfers ranging in age and disabilities will hit the beach at Kingscliff on January 20.
RIDING HIGH: Surfers ranging in age and disabilities will hit the beach at Kingscliff on January 20. contributed

Help to spread salt-water thrills

NOTHING beats the feeling of helping people living with disabilities hit the surf and catch a wave.

Colleen Reed has been nursing for 35 years and she still wells up when she sees the joy on the faces of wave riders at the Disabled Surfers Association events, such as the one being held at Kingscliff on Saturday.

"It's awesome. If you come you'll just leave there with a smile on your face and maybe a tear in your eye,” the Far North Coast DSA branch president said.

Young and old, people facing a range of challenges from vision and hearing impairment, to the effects of stroke and those whose lives have changed through crashes, 30-50 surfers are expected to hit the beach for the DSA's Kingscliff meet at Coast Guard Tower Beach.

It will be one of six events held at beaches up and down the Far North Coast each summer.

DSA was formed in 1986 after founder Gary Blaschke was injured in a motorcycle accident and discovered many surfers with disabilities had no help to get back in the water.

For many, getting on the waves, or even across the sand, unaided was simply impossible.

It can take up to 10 volunteers to help one surfer get in the water and on the board, and it is definitely worth the effort.
It can take up to 10 volunteers to help one surfer get in the water and on the board, and it is definitely worth the effort. contributed

"We can just pop down to the beach every day if we want, and they just can't do that,” Ms Reed said.

"Lots of those people need 10 people to get each of them in the water.”

The DSA has called for volunteers to spend a couple of hours on the beach and help participants - some who travel long distances to reach the ocean - to ride the waves.

"The more volunteers we get the more waves they get,” Ms Reed said.

"It just makes you feel good that you can help them actually go in (the water), and the carers are amazing, they all come and help. It's a real privilege.”

You do not have to be a surfer to get involved.

Just head to the beach on Saturday and sign on at 9am, bring your hat and "your great big smile”.

Rash shirts, sunscreen and a sausage sizzle will be supplied.

For more information about the Disabled Surfers Association and its other upcoming events, visit the website disabledsurfers.org/nsw/ far-north-coast-branch.

Fast facts

  • What: The Kingscliff 'Cocky' classic with the Disabled Surfing Association
  • Where: Kingscliff Beach - near the Coast Guard Tower, Marine Pde, Kingscliff
  • When: Saturday from 9am
  • You don't need to be a surfer to get involved with this community event.
  • For more information or to volunteer, phone Mick Seller on 0429943190, Colleen Reed on 0412821099 or email Diana Willis at dianasgarden@hotmail.com.


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