March 20, 2018
This doesn’t look like your usual surfing, but who’s watching?
Surfing with young people of different abilities was a different sight at Oakura Beach during an event run by Parafed Taranaki, Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and the Oakura Boardriders Club.
Some were standing, some sitting, a few lying down and, there was a combination of all three.
One young man, Jake Ryan, said this experience made him feel free. Jake said he didn’t have to be the best swimmer to be able to surf the waves.
The 21 youngsters and about 40 volunteers agreed they got a lot out of the experience, which took place on March 3.
Not only were they learning new terms, such as beach wheelchairs, cerebral palsy, cochlear implants and impairments, but they were learning if they were flexible and open-minded, anyone of any ability could connect with the ocean.
The youth needed support from the Oakura Boardriders Club because each participant needed a large stable surfboard, with six people around the board to drive it into the shore.
A person had to be resting on the back of board to keep the nose above the water, with a few people around the sides. Others were ahead waiting in the shallow water in the board’s path to stop it.
There was the odd slip-up, children taking tumbles and getting dunked. But, they accepted it as part of the process and the smiles shone through
– Taranaki Daily News