Enjoying the surf at Currumbin are (L-R) Jess Richmond, Craig Castles, Marcus Awhitu, John Bowers, Gabe Wischki, Iain Gay and Hannah Stopel.
Enjoying the surf at Currumbin are (L-R) Jess Richmond, Craig Castles, Marcus Awhitu, John Bowers, Gabe Wischki, Iain Gay and Hannah Stopel. Scott Powick

Stoked to be riding waves

BLUE rash-vested volunteers surrounded yellow-vested disabled surfers at Flat Rock Currumbin Beach yesterday.

Hoots of excitement went up as the surfers were pushed onto waves and smiles grew on their faces.

As they came to a stop the volunteers gathered around them once more, applauded and carried them to their sand-buggy wheelchairs.

Carer Lisa O'Brien said Marcus Awhitu, of Ipswich, had been a disabled surfer for "three or four years".

"He loves surfing," Ms O'Brien said.

"He won an award for best ride, a little surfboard trophy, and he's extremely proud of that."

Mr Awhitu also acts in plays that his care home puts on for the public during what Ms O'Brien said were "wonderful events".

"I'm glad I was on shift so I could come down here.

"It's well worth the trip and they love it."

Gold Coast Disabled Surfing Australia branch president Craig Castles said whether there were waves or not, everyone enjoyed the experience

"A lot of other surfers turn up to help out, because they know they can do it any day and think it's good karma."

Mr Castles said disabilities were potentially isolating for both parents and their afflicted children and DSA was a great remedy for this.

"Some don't get out and have a go.

"Once you do it, once you've come down here you can't explain the feeling - it's one of those things you have to experience yourself.

"We find that once people come down here they stay, which we call being bitten by the DSA bug."

DSA is maintained by State Government grants, community and member support but needs corporate assistance for its volunteers.

Mr Castles said some volunteers worked 20 to 30 hours per week.

Contact Craig or Ian on 0412 191 880 or 0422 209 583.



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