For 30 years, the Disabled Surfers Association (DSA) has been giving disabled people the opportunity to share the exhilaration of surfing. The South Coast branch is holding its last event for the summer next week – its 15th Annual Hands On Day at Gerroa.
“We are not teaching people to surf, we’re just giving them a surfing experience and making them feel special for the day,” says Kiama’s Jim Bradley. “It is a way for the surfing fraternity to give back for a few hours.”
Last year’s event attracted over 250 people to the beach, including carers and volunteers. “We have the voluntary power to handle any situation,” says Jim. “We have a minimum care ratio of 6:1, but it can be up to 30:1 for severe physical disability.”
Years of experience has established safety protocols and procedures, so DSA can offer the experience to people with the full spectrum of disability.
“Our aim is to put smiles on dials. We feed everyone, and participants go home with a trophy.
“People enjoy the experience so much they plan their holidays around the Australia-wide events.”
The organisation gets no government funding, and new volunteers are always welcome.