Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Riding the crest of a wave ... people with disabilities get surfing in Rio!

Kat from Netbuddy meets Philippe from ADAPTSURF - a project in Rio helping people with disabilities get surfing...

The beaches in Rio are world renowned for their beautiful white sand and green waters, with the magnificent mountains making for a spectacular backdrop.

Many of us take enjoying the beach for granted, but when something as simple as dipping your toes in the water is a challenge,  jumping on a surfboard and catching some waves may seem like a pipedream.

The 2000 Census revealed that 15% of the Brazilian population is disabled, yet very few organisations work with disabled people and the services provided are below par to poor. Luckily, there is the amazing crew at ADAPTSURF to help restore the balance. Run by a 10-strong team, they give everybody – regardless of their ability – the opportunity to get out and surf.

ADAPTSURF meets every weekend and has 20 people with a range of disabilities from autism and Down's syndrome to cerebral palsy. With their distinctive blue and turquoise flags blowing in the wind, they have wheelchair-friendly matting and specially-designed beach wheelchairs making sand accessible to all. The team also customise surfboards so that everybody has the opportunity to rip those curls.

Philippe, a physiotherapist from ADAPTSURF, told me, "The look of happiness when each person gets in the sea is incredible. A real sense of freedom comes over them." Philippe says this is a great opportunity to engage and motivate people having their physio in a fun, stimulating and stress-free environment.

We're putting together a world map of Netbuddies so we can see how many people are supporting us around the globe. Are you a Netbuddy outside of the UK? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch and tell us where you are!

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