NOT BOARD: Volunteers cheer and clap as Disabled Surfers Association participants catch a wave at Jetty Beach.
NOT BOARD: Volunteers cheer and clap as Disabled Surfers Association participants catch a wave at Jetty Beach.

Sea of surfers amped for swell time at Jetty Beach

WITH surfboards in tow, a sea of people wearing brightly coloured shirts labelled with DSA, the acronym for Disabled Surfers Association of Australia Inc, took to the water at Jetty Beach.

The organisation's Coffs Harbour branch, which started eight years ago, holds four "hands on surfing days" each season: Jetty Beach in January and October, Woolgoolga in November and Scotts Head in February.

President of the Mid North Coast chapter, Robyn Woods, said that almost 150 people were involved in Saturday's session and that DSA's secret to success was the enormous goodwill shown by all parties involved.

"Smiles on dials is a motto not just for our participants; the volunteers often say they get so much out of the day, saying their cheeks are aching from smiling so much," she said.

Participants ranged in age from five to more than 50, with disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and various injuries.

"The degree of disability that we cater for is literally unlimited," Ms Woods said.

Brent Manwaring (pictured standing) has surfed with the group three times before and loves it.

"Our prime emphasis is on safety," Ms Woods said, "Each participant has a carer with them. There is a huge amount of trust going on the beach, something we don't take lightly.

"Initially set up for injured surfers, DSA has dramatically widened its target group to cater for all disabled, whether they were originally surfers or not."

Ms Woods said people came from as far as Dubbo and Armidale to take part on Saturday, "but most of our people are locals, from Nambucca to Corindi Beach".

For more information, head to the disabled surfers website 



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