Surf Emporium have conducted an Adaptive Surfing clinic on Muizenberg beach in Cape Town allowing physically challenged individuals to ride waves at the popular surf spot.
According to Surf Emporium ‘an Adaptive Surfer is a surfer with a disability, including but not limited to, paralyses, cerebral palsy, blindness, amputations.’
Like regular surfing, adaptive surfing involves the surfer paddling out and riding a wave towards the shore. Adaptive surfing can occur wherever there are suitable waves, this is mainly in the ocean however can also be done in lakes, river and through artificial waves.
There are six categories of adaptive surfing for people with a range of physical challenges and disabilities and a further one for those with mental disabilities.
Surf Emporium Muizenberg is the only officially SSA accredited Adaptive Surf School in South Africa and their latest clinic went down a treat on the beach despite the chilly weather in the Mother City on Saturday.
The key to Adaptive Surfing instruction lies with Surf Emporiums dedicated team of selfless volunteers.
The concept was first introduced to South Africa in 2011 and since then has impacted the lives of many disabled surfers. Adaptive surfing is born out of the surf therapy techniques used to assist veterans recovering from post traumatic stress.
Surf Emporium describe adaptive surfing as follows: “Adaptive Surfing, as a sport, has been rapidly growing & we are dedicated to assisting with this growth both locally and nationally. Adaptive Surfing aims to show people living with disabilities that surfing is a possibility and to make it a possibility.”
There were 13 adaptive surfing clinics held in 2018 but the organization has set itself the target of holding 20 in 2019 with the goal of teaching fifty people how to surf through the programme.
Sixteen disabled surfers qualified for major national championships in 2018 while eight made it into major international competitions.
Adaptive surfing categories:
AS-1: Surfers who ride in a standing or kneeling position
AS-2: Surfers who ride in a standing or kneeling position
AS-3: Surfers who ride in a seated position
AS-4: Surfers who ride in a prone position
AS-5: Surfers who ride in a non-standing position and need assistance to paddle into waves
AS-VI: Surfers who have a visual impairment
*Adaptive Surfers with mental disabilities