NORTHERN Ireland’s first ‘Disabled Surf Festival’ took place this weekend on Saturday (June 9) at Benone Beach.
This amazing festival was organised by Long Line Surf School which is situated on Ireland’s longest beach - stretching for seven miles, as well as being part of one of Ireland’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Long Line Disabled Surf Festival was created in order for young people with a disability aged eight to 25 from all over the country to come down and take part in a free surfing experience which has never been offered to them before. Innovative new and customised surfboards were created for wheelchair users in a highly unique surfing festival.
With the great help and sponsorship from Disability Sports Northern Ireland, Coastal Core Lifeguard Trainers, Treasure Trails Northern Ireland and Fruice Drinks this festival brought over 30 people with disabilities together for the day where the family could take part with surfing, a treasure trail through the sand dunes and inclusive games.
Dan, the organiser and owner of Long Line Surf School explained: “This festival was created to give everyone the experience of surfing. We want the child or young person with the disability to take the driver’s seat but we also wanted it to be one of those rare events where the whole family is allowed as parents, guardians and siblings jumped in the water as well.”
When it comes to safety Long Line Surf School thought of everything with every person surfing with a disability - they had their own personal lifeguard beside them at all times and Long Line also created custom surfboards for wheel chair users which allowed them to lie on the front while holding onto handles. The instructor could also hold on the back and steer the board so the person could get the experience of surfing without having to use any physical demand.
This was a great day for everyone who took part and is an event to put on the calendar for next year. If you would like to see any more photos on this event check out Long Line Surf School on Facebook or email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org