Accessible surfing has been lifechanging

Written by Fiona on 

For young disabled people like Ollie, having opportunities to get out and active without parental supervision can be hard. His mum, Fiona, knows that most twenty-somethings don’t want to do everything with their family, but opportunities for fostering separate hobbies are few and far between.

The North Devon Down Syndrome Group, who find inclusive activities in the local area, collaborated with Sense to help a group of young people experience surfing!

I’m Fiona, Ollie’s mum. My son has Down’s syndrome, and he swims for the special Olympics. We’re always looking out for new things to do, new sports to try, but there’s not that much out there – or not near us in rural Devon.

Surfing stood out because it was something that I didn’t need to be part of. It must be a bit boring for him having his mum follow him everywhere, but most of the time he doesn’t have an option, really. It’s only us at home so if I don’t do it, he won’t go anywhere.

As much as I want him to have a full life, I also want him to have a sense of freedom. It’s hard to get the balance.

On the water, they aren’t treated differently

With surfing, the idea that there were other people out there who could enable him and let him explore and be himself… that was the biggest benefit, it’s so much more independent. And that’s as well as all it offers him in terms of fitness and stamina. He loves it. And I know that he’s safe.

The Wave Project, who run the sessions, are just fantastic. Their volunteers, who are out on the water, are brilliant; you couldn’t fault them. Ollie and the others aren’t treated as though they’re different or disabled, they’re just allowed to get on with it and enjoy themselves.


Read the full article on Sense’s website here: