There is never a shortage of willing hands to help surfers sitting, lying or trying to stand on surfboards at events organised by the Disabled Surfers Association Mornington Peninsula branch.
Hundreds of blue and yellow rash vests were the most eye-catching fashion item for the second time in two months at Point Leo beach on Saturday 16 March.
Hundreds of blue and yellow vests were visible along the beach as the Disabled Surfers Association Mornington Peninsula organisation ran a surf day.
Groups of people wearing blue vests – supervised by a lesser number of people wearing green or red vests – were either forming two parallel lines in the surf of huddled in groups on the sand before carrying surfboards and their occupants into the water.
DSAMP president John Bowers said more than 550 volunteers over two surf day events “ensured more than 220 people had an amazing experience in the water — feeling free of their wheelchair or their disability for a day”.
“It’s great to see people with similar and sometimes isolating conditions connect in a fun and meaningful way.”
The Mornington Peninsula Group of the Country Women’s Association of Victoria (CWA) gave $4000 from its annual Darriman Fund to the DSAMP.
“It’s awesome to see the smiles on the faces of people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access our beautiful beaches, here on the Mornington Peninsula,” CWA Mornington Peninsula group president, Marnie Turner said.
“Our CWA Balnarring branch put forward the beach matting needed by the DSAMP for this year’s donation and we thought it was a very worthy project.
Mr Bowers said having the support of an organisation like the CWA “really helps when it comes to running surf days”.
“To receive a donation like this from a fellow peninsula organisation means we can buy the equipment we need to continue providing access to our beaches for those who may never have experienced the water,” Mr Bowers said.
“The new boardwalk near Point Leo Life Saving Club allows domestic wheelchairs to access the beach. The new beach matting means wheelchair access is even closer to the water before there’s a need to swap to an accessible beach chair.”
Mr Bowers said improved beach access for wheelchairs “reduces the strain on volunteers who in the past have had to wear a harness and drag the beach chair through the soft sand, meaning less time in the water for participants”. added Mr Bowers.
The Country Women’s Association of Victoria has 10 branches across the peninsula. Details: www.cwaofvic.org.au.
For more information on the DSAMP visit disabledsurfers.org/vic/morning-peninsula-branch/