Disabled Surfers Association are back in Ocean Grove ensuring everyone has the chance to experience riding a wave

Disabled Surfers Association are back in Ocean Grove ensuring everyone has the chance to experience riding a wave

Words by Alice Ruby McDonald

The perfect announcement for International Day of People with Disabilities

Disabled Surfers Association has 35 years of experience in the waves ensuring those of all ages and abilities can learn to surf. Each year, their Ocean Grove event is a highlight of every member’s calendar. The dates have been announced for 6th February 2022 and 6th March 2022.

The key takeaways

  • Dates have been announced for 2022 season at Ocean Grove by the Disabled Surfing Association
  • Everyone of all ages and abilities is welcome to register and participate as well as volunteers
  • Celebrating 35 years of experience, the 2022 season is booked for 6th February and 6th March 2022

The Disabled Surfers Association prioritises safety as their number one goal, each surfer will have up to 25 volunteers around them supporting them in and out of the water and Ocean Grove usually can expect up to a whopping 250 volunteers for the spectacular event. Catering for anybody who needs support to surf, the group has helped many people who are living with a range of disabilities.

Volunteer, Cheryl, watches on as surfer, AJ, rides in on a wave (Photo credit: dianasphotos)

The association was established in 1986 by surfer, Gary Blaschke, after a motorbike accident prevented him from surfing unaided. Blaschke could draw on help from friends to get back into the water, but he soon realised that many others living with disabilities might not have the same opportunities. Now 35 years later, thousands of disabled adults and children have had the opportunity to experience the ocean in the best way possible.

Another reason to feel safe in this programme is that the volunteers make sure they surf in the broken water close to shore and not from out behind the break, which means you’re still gonna catch a wave, just maybe start with the small ones. You’ll be a pro in no-time!

As each disability is unique to the individual, these events offer multiple points of accessibility to ensure everyone has access to the beach and most importantly – the waves. Some examples include, Disabled Surfers Association providing wheelchair beach access as well as beach friendly wheelchairs for kids and adults. Through registering, make sure you specify any access needs and the team at Ocean Grove will have you covered.

Student Nathan Fox captured the wonderful sense of camaraderie of this association perfectly in his VCE short documentary film on the Ocean Grove programme. I highly recommend checking this out, it perfectly encapsulates what the Disabled Surfing Association Ocean Grove is all about.

Register for either 6th February 2022 or 6th March 2022 here.

Keep up with updates from the Disabled Surfing Association Ocean Grove here.