This December, differently abled and elderly people will also have a chance to frolic in the waves at Toti Main Beach.
The initiative, which is the brainchild of beach manager, Jace Govender, will see a 4×4 wheelchair made available to transport disabled and elderly beachgoers to the waterline and into the waves.
Wesley Smith, who is involved in adaptive surfing with disabled youngsters, helped Jace get the project off the ground three years ago.
“Jace, who was diagnosed with polio at a young age, has always been passionate about getting disabled people onto the beach,” said Wesley. “He put the wheelchair out on the first day I started my surf school at Toti Main Beach. He said I could teach surf lessons if I took people into the water in the wheelchair.
It’s unfair for disabled people to go to the beach and have to sit and watch everyone else have fun in the surf. This is an opportunity to integrate them, so that they can also have some fun.”
Wesley has recently moved to Glenwood in an effort to spread the programme to Durban beaches and be closer to the adaptive surfing which takes place every Sunday at Addington Beach. Next year he is involved in hosting the adaptive surfing SA champs there.
He hopes to start the wheelchair programme at North Beach this December and then offer it to other beaches. He will train lifeguards on how to put people in the chairs and what safety concerns to watch out for. “It is at your own risk but we try and reduce that risk as much as possible,” he said.
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Anyone who is keen to try it out this December in Toti need just go to the beach office any day from 8am to 3pm. It is free of charge. Although Wesley will not be in attendance, his team will be and the lifeguards will assist.
For more information on adaptive surfing, call Wesley on 082-802-1349.
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