Gift of surfing: First-time surfer Olivia Sykes is helped onto a wave by big-hearted volunteers.
Gift of surfing: First-time surfer Olivia Sykes is helped onto a wave by big-hearted volunteers. Leigh Jensen

Olivia enjoys ride of her life

HAVING recently moved to Coffs Harbour from Adelaide, Olivia Sykes had only dreamed about surfing before the weekend.

In perfect conditions at Jetty Beach on Saturday, the nine-year-old's wish came true.

With the help of big-hearted volunteers from the Disabled Surfers Association, she and mum Sharron got a few tips on board riding on the beach.

Then for the rest of the morning, this young first-time surfer pulled into wave after wave, getting rides right to the beach.

Cliff Lloyd, of the Mid North Coast branch of the Disabled Surfers, said there were many magic moments during the ‘Lets Go Surfing Day', which attracted a staggering 90 local volunteers.

“It was a really big turn-out, an amazing response,” Mr Lloyd said yesterday.

“Those guys helped to make the day for 23 wheelchair-bound, sight, hearing and mentally impaired participants – overall a huge success.

“Some of these kids are aged from, say, eight right up to adults aged 30 and they've all experienced real struggle in their lives, so helping them to surf is, yeah, just about the most satisfying feeling ever.

“In the Disabled Surfing Association we have a few slogans we live by – one is putting smiles on dials and the other is surfers helping surfers, so that's what it's all about.”

The call is out for more people to help out this summer.

Let's Go Surfing days will be held at Woolgoolga on November 13, Jetty Beach on January 8 before heading down to Scotts Head on March 5.

To get involved, go to the website www.disabledsurfers.org or contact Sue Kleidon on 0419 762196.



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