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A chance to experience surfing in a supportive environment

People with physical disabilities hit the water on Sunday to give adaptive surfing a go.

A collaboration between Parafed Gisborne Tairawhiti and Gisborne Boardriders Club gave participants, including one all the way from Whakatane, the chance to experience surfing in a supportive environment with plenty of help on hand.

Parafed Gisborne Tairawhiti chairperson Ashley Fisher said it was an amazing day.

“The support from Gisborne Boardriders was fantastic.

“We even had (professional surfer) Ricardo Christie come along and get involved.

“One participant with cerebral palsy did incredibly well and managed to get up on his board, so Ricardo gave him a rashie (rash shirt).”

About 10 people took part in the event with eight people from Gisborne Boardriders in the water to help.

Mr Fisher said it was the first event of its kind and he hoped to make it a yearly thing.

A lot of family members were able to join in and after a solid morning of surfing they relaxed and enjoyed a barbecue.

Parafed promotes welfare and sporting opportunities for disabled people in New Zealand.

It is affiliated to Paralympics NZ, which supports and encourages opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in sport at regional, national and international levels.

HANG LOOSE: Tama Wirepa gives the classic “shaka” or “hang loose” sign while getting help from Gisborne Boardriders Club’s Flo Bub at an adaptive surfing session at Midway Beach. Pictures by Paul Rickard
Parafed Gisborne Tairawhiti board chairman Ashley Fisher gives it a go too.
Mitch Kuhn sends Ethan Gill on his way.
CATCHING A WAVE: With a little help from Shawn Collier, Raymond Braybrook catches a wave as Simie Bub watches his progress. Gisborne Boardriders Club and Parafed Gisborne Tairawhiti joined forces for the adaptive surfing session at Midway Beach.