Kelli Jones (yellow top), of Maclean, rides tandem with Disabled Surfers Association team leader, Terry Kay, of Lennox Head at Flat Rock.
Kelli Jones (yellow top), of Maclean, rides tandem with Disabled Surfers Association team leader, Terry Kay, of Lennox Head at Flat Rock. Jay Cronan

Surfing's a thrill for disabled

KELLI JONES may not have seen it but the thrill of catching her first wave at the Disabled Surfing Association's 'Hands on' day at Ballina's Flat Rock beach, had her hooked.

“It was scary but so exciting. I'll be doing it again for sure,” said Ms Jones, a blind Maclean resident, who joked that she'd become a 'surfie chick'.

Over 30 volunteers, comprising largely the Byron Bay and Lennox Head Long Board Clubs' members were on hand to help those with disabilities feel the joy of surfing.

On an October morning, when most able-bodied people would be flinching in the water, disabled participants showed 'an amazing amount of courage', according to Daffy Chisholm, the Far North Coast Disabled Surfing Association (DSA) co-secretary and volunteer.

“Every participant is a winner today. We're going for smiles and we got plenty. A lot of the volunteers are world-class surfers but they leave their egos at the door. It's about surfers helping surfers,” he said.

Mr Chisholm and fellow National DSA secretary Ted Kabbout are North Coast members spearheading the association's international expansion.

“Papua New Guinea will be the first of five countries to introduce disabled surfing. Our model is not-for-profit. You can't make money out of this,” he said.

The Far North Coast division of DSA, which runs events from Wooli to Tweed Heads seeks sponsors and volunteers. Participants with mild to severe disabilities are encouraged to take part.



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