As a part of assembly this week, Mrs Harrington made a presentation of certificates to a group of students who have been involved in the Disabled Surfing Association. Year 10 student, Keanu Chapman spoke on behalf of the group, here’s what he had to say.
Now I’m hoping everyone here had a good time last weekend, doing things you enjoy. I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing more I enjoy then going for a mad surf with an awesome group of friends. Good waves, sun, beach, all great. But when I first rocked up to the Disabled Surfers’ Association, I found more than that. There were so many different types of people there, but there’s one boy I’d like to tell you about. Now this boy had never surfed before, as a matter of fact he’s never walked or talked before either. His mother does all she can to make sure he’ll enjoy life and to all you parents out there, wouldn’t you want the same? So my mates and I helped him onto a board, took him out to the waves. And you should have seen the face of this boy after he caught a wave. Now he couldn’t say anything, tell us how he felt about it but we knew by the smile on his face and his laugh, he was feeling something truly special. Eleven time surfing world champion, Kelly Slater was once asked in an interview
He responded with, “the guy who’s having the most fun in the water.” And on that day, that boy and all the others who participated, were the best surfers out there.
And if you’re not convinced already, I’m here with a group of great people to tell you more. The DSA is run entirely by volunteers and new members are always welcome and valued.
Gary Blaschke who formed the DSA around 30 years ago realized during an injury he was recovering from that there was a void that needed to be filled because many surfers with disabilities are quite lonely as there is no one to help them get back into the water. He filled that void with the DSA and has continued to enlarge it over many years creating branches all around Australia. The Coffs Harbour branch celebrated 10 years supporting the community through surfing at Woolgoolga last weekend.
Gary’s vision was not just limited to supporting disabled surfers only, in fact the association extends to all participants with additional needs; if someone wants to have a go, the DSA do what they can to ensure that everyone gets to experience the joy of surfing. These events happen from October through to March during the warmer months of the year. But it won’t happen without volunteers, the disabled won’t get to experience the amazing feeling found in surfing. So if you’re a surfer or anyone who enjoys the ocean, even if you don’t enjoy the ocean, but want to give something back to the community, come have a go, because the only thing that comes close to the feeling of surfing, is seeing the smile of someone who wouldn’t be able to surf without you.