THE Disabled Surfers Association Mornington Peninsula’s first beach day of the year saw 156 surfers and more than 300 volunteers at Pt Leo on 20 January.
Since 2012, DSAMP has been fulfilling its mission to put “smiles on dials” by offering safe, accessible and fun surfing experiences to surfers of all disabilities.
Established by Gary Blaschke in 1986, the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia now has more than 19 chapters in Australia and one in New Zealand.
“In the 12 years since we started, we have watched our events continue to grow,” DSAMP president Pea Saunders said. “There’s a fantastic vibe for the surfers, carers and volunteers, combined with a high degree of professionalism and commitment from all involved, that make our events something that we all look forward to.”
Volunteers and surfers often attend both events held by the DSAMP each year.
“This was our second year, and I can see it being a regular event for our family,” said Rebecca Eakins who attended the January event with her sons, Jaxson and Jayden.
“It’s such a heartwarming day, and I often wonder if the surfers or volunteers are having more fun. We try to give our boys every opportunity, and they love being on the water, but surfing is not one we could have given them without the support of DSAMP.”
Leanne Vogt came for the first time with her son Michael who “went from being super anxious and not sure if he wanted to participate” to wanting to know when he could do it again.
“He wants his own board and to learn,” she said.
DSAMP is run by volunteers and supported by community groups, including Point Leo Surf Life Saving Club, the Point Leo foreshore management committee and Tyabb Somerville Rotary Club.
Volunteers do not require any experience or to be surfers.
The next event will be on 16 March.
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