To be honest I never thought I would get the opportunity to go surfing. When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance (well, not physically). After a long discussion about the technicalities with my support people, I was booked in for my first ever surfing lesson and boy was I nervous! I phoned my family and friends straight away and told them the exciting news.
A few weeks later I was on my way down to Sydney, from Brisbane, to stay at the five-star luxury resort that specialises in people with spinal cord injuries. Sargood is located in Collaroy on the Northern Beaches of New South Wales (keep an eye out for my latest blog on Sargood).
Sebastian was one of the first people I met when I arrived at Sargood. He is a recreational staff member and was the absolute legend that took me out for my first surfing lesson.
The nerves had well and truly set in the morning of the big event and Sebastian was a great support in calming my nerves. He assisted me in getting dressed into the wetsuit and I transferred into the beach wheelchair ready for action.
The beach is a 3-5-minute walk from the resort and before I knew it, I was being pulled into the ocean. Sebastian was by my side the entire time and he transferred me, with the help of my travel buddy Sarah, up and onto the surfboard. The surfboard we used had been adapted especially for people with disabilities and had a motorised fin to increase the speed when catching a wave. This also helps people with limited arm or leg function conserve energy when out on the water.
I was laying on my stomach with my elbows locked onto the surfboard which allowed me to keep my head up and out of the water. Sebastian laid behind me, towards the back of the surfboard where he was able to guide us and catch several waves. I think you would agree, the video footage says it all!