Surf Relief UK launch Project Surfable for Disabled Kids - Surfer's Path

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Surf Relief UK launch Project Surfable for Disabled Kids

Surf Relief UK to launch project ‘Surfable’ 2008 at the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival

Surf Relief, the UK’s leading surfing charity, is launching Project Surfable through a network of surf schools across England, kicking off at the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival on July 26th at Watergate Bay in Newquay, Cornwall.

Across Britain’s east and south coasts, a network of surf schools will provide opportunities for hundreds of disabled children to ride waves on some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. The schools in the network are to provide an experience of a lifetime in a safe environment.

All schools use experienced, highly qualified instructors and specialist equipment, such as soft tandem 11ft boards, which allow the participant and instructor to ride the surf together. Through the network, the charity subsidises one-to-one surfing lessons for a wide range of disabilities. At just £20, individual tuition is 20% of a standard lesson fee.

This is the first time such opportunities have been provided in large numbers and in so many locations in the UK. For most disabled young people, the idea of undertaking an extreme sport such as surfing is a just a dream, one that only able bodied people usually take part in.

Following the blueprint of similar, successful schemes in America, the charity’s aim is to break down these assumptions, allowing children who face daily physical and learning challenges the chance to experience such a therapeutic sport.

The project will be launched at Surf Relief’s annual funding raising event, the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival, at Watergate Bay on July 26th. Throughout the day, 30 disabled children and young people have the opportunity to sign up for a free lesson from the network’s instructors (participants must book in advance via {encode=”lisleader@lifeworks-uk.org” title=”Lis Leader”} and make their own travel arrangements).

Dave Manley, TSRUK Chairman, said: “Surf Relief UK is a small charity achieving big things. Our Project Surfable is an exciting, challenging and unique venture that aims to use surfing to improve the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people. Experience shows that taking part in surfing improves an individual’s well being. I have seen examples of autistic children who are normally introverted and unresponsive become animated and ecstatic just by riding a board in through the surf on their stomachs.”

Andy Joyce, of Bournemouth Surf Academy agrees: “Project Surfable will make a real difference to the lives of many disabled and disadvantaged young people. For many of these, a trip to Devon or Cornwall would not be possible and Surf Relief’s national network provides opportunities much closer to home and for a greatly reduced cost.”

Network Surf Schools

The network currently includes six surf schools, below. These will become specialist centres able to cater for the tuition of the disabilities selected. The number and coverage of surf schools involved in the network will expand as the charity grows. All schools adhere to guidelines required by the British Surfing Associations Registered Schools scheme. Project Surfable will subsidise £20 and the surf schools will subsidise £40 of each lesson.

* Big Blue Surf School – Bude, north Cornwall – bigbluesurf@btconnect.com
* National Surfing Centre – Newquay, west Cornwall – info@nationalsurfingcentre.com
* Nick Thorn’s Surf School – Woolacombe, north Devon – nick@nickthorn.com
* Discovery Surf School – Bigbury Bay, south Devon – martin@discoverysurf.com
* Bournemouth Surf School – Bournemouth, – andy@bournemouthsurfschool.co.uk
* Joss Bay Surf School – Joss Bay, Kent – info@jossbay.co.uk

How it works

Any disabled young person, under 18, wishing to experience surfing (or their carer, parent or guardian on behalf of the pupil) should contact their local network school. They will be required to fill in a registration form and the specific disabilities of the pupil will be matched to a suitable level of tuition. The person with parental responsibility will be required to be present for the whole of the lesson and can join the pupil in the water as long as they are a competent swimmer. All necessary equipment will be provided by the surf school, the lesson will be one to one instructor-pupil ratio. The approximate duration of lesson will be between 1.5 and 3 hours depending on environmental conditions and personal enthusiasm and ability.

Volunteer and attend the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival for free!

Organisers of the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival are seeking volunteers to be part of country’s only surfing and live music festival on a beach. Help is needed to manage the site on Saturday 26th July and ensure the smooth running of the event, including marshalling the large volumes of traffic and pedestrians on site at Watergate Bay and in the car parking areas in the vicinity.

Volunteers should expect to spend six hours on duty throughout the day (in either a.m. or p.m. shifts), with regular breaks to enjoy their free entry to the beach events and live music on the beach. Anyone interested in volunteering should {encode=”phil@christiansurfers.co.uk” title=”contact Phil Williams”}.

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