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How Surfers are Helping Disabled Surfers to “Catch a Wave.” Welcome to “Surfability” 

Gold Cost Branch of Disabled Surfers Association of Australia held their first summer 2012 monthly “Lets go Surfing Hands on Day” at Flat Rock Beach Currumbin, Queensland. 

David Bedwell of Obvius Access shared the day

It’s a beautiful sunny early morning at Flat Rock Beach Currumbin on the Gold Coast, and the surf is looking promising for the day’s event. Already the organizers and their volunteer helpers are hard at work in preparation for this years first “Hands on Day” for Disabled Surfers. 

The Long-Shot Photograph below shows the overall most impressive achievement of the Day. Three teams of volunteers, out in the surf, participating surfers and carers, friends and organizers. After you have studied the photograph I will give you an insight into the organization and personal involvement associated with this admirable event. 

1 DSA Gold Coast 


So here goes! The Gold Coast Branch was founded in 2004 and today’s Branch President Craig Castles was one of the founding members. Craig grew up on the Central Coast and has been a keen surfer all his life. He moved to the Gold Coast in 1990, his fellow officers are shown in the photo below at the start of today’s event. They will be joined by an amazing regular band of volunteer helpers, plus a welcome influx of new volunteers joining this year. There are five more scheduled “Hands on days” this season so why not come down and spend a rewarding and most pleasant day and share the friendship and enjoyment of helping in any way at the next event at Flat Rock Beach on 18th November. You will be made most welcome by everyone at Currumbin. 

2 DSA Gold Coast 

Club Committee Men 

From Left to right Dan (Secretary), Craig (President) Ross (Treasurer) Ian (Vice President)  

There are 14 branches of the DSA in 5 States and 1 branch in New Zealand at present. Since being founded in 1986 by Gary Blaschke in Sydney it has remained an entirely voluntary organization which relies on support from members and the local community. 

Participants and Carers at today’s event have come from all over Queensland to be here at beach-side. In addition to Bryce pictured below who is a Gold Coaster; they have come from Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, and the Sunshine Coast. The ages of the participants range from the youngest at 3 years old to the more mature!! 

Dress code applies at Currumbin Flat Rock Beach and all other Surfability Hands on Days in Australia. The reason for this code is for Safety and Recognition purposes in the surf and on the beach identifiable Rash Vests “Rashies” are worn. You will see in the later pictures Participants wear Yellow Rashies, Volunteers wear Light Blue Rashies, there can be from 6 to 30 volunteers to each team Red Rashies are worn by Team Leaders, there are usually at least two Team Leaders in each Team and Green Rashies are worn by Beach Marshalls. Today there are three Beach Marshalls. The Beach Marshalls and Team Leaders are highly trained, and experienced persons and are skilled in the use of emergency medical equipment which is always in service and available at each Hands on Day at all DSA branches.  

Photos that follow are a sample taken today that illustrate the amazing achievements of the Gold Coast Branch of the DSA.  


3 DSA Gold Coast 

Beach and Surf Accessibility Equipment and Registration 

4 DSA Gold Coast 


Early Participant Bryce registered in  


5 DSA Gold Coast 

Volunteers Denis, Ross, and Damien of Burleigh Long board Club in the Light blue Rashies 


6 DSA Gold Coast 


Team Preparing to go into Surf


7 DSA Gold Coast 

Team Volunteers with Team Leaders and Participant Safely in the Surf


8 DSA Gold Coast 

The Happy Return 

Before I left Currumbin today I asked Craig and Ross how the day was progressing. Craig said he was really pleased with today’s turnout which compared well with previous years events with a range of between 35-50 participants, and a range of 100-300 volunteers and carers. Ross as a Beach Marshall said he was pleased with the all round achievements so far today, and would welcome any additional new volunteers and participants at next month’s event here at Flat Rock Beach on 18th November 2012 

The Gold Coast Branch of the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia continue to admirably progress the DSA mission to “Open up the Beaches for the Disabled” The “Hands on Days” are providing the opportunity of an equitable safe surfing experience that can be enjoyed by surfers who otherwise may never have had the experience to do so. 

Congratulations, further awareness and recognition is due to all those people who have dedicated so much of their time and shared their skills as part of this most admirable voluntary organization. 

As the Beach Boys sang nearly fifty years ago “Catch a Wave and you’re sitting on top of the World” Thanks DSA for making it happen

David Bedwell is an Access Consultant a director of Obvius Access Accredited Access Consultants a family business with offices in Australia in Sydney NSW and the Gold Coast Qld.

2nd November 2012  

For other articles by David visitwww.accessconsultant.com.au 



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