Disabled surfer Joe Vetter in action with the Disabled Surfing Association.
Disabled surfer Joe Vetter in action with the Disabled Surfing Association. Contributed

Disabled surfers to come to Rainbow

CALLS to establish a branch of the Disabled Surfing Association at Rainbow Beach has resulted in a public meeting to register interest.

The meeting is set for March 20 at the Rainbow Beach Surf Club.

The association was prompted to investigate the possibility of the establishment of a new branch on the Cooloola Coast after meeting Joseph Vetter and Arden Franks.

Their parents have travelled as far as Turners Beach, Yamba, to attend hands-on surfing days.

To get the branch off the ground, it is imperative to consolidate a strong volunteer base for any new branch to progress.

Joseph's mother, Anne Vetter, said establishing a branch of the Disabled Surfing Association would be an amazing coup for the region.

"Not just for those with disabilities, but for those who'd love a way to contribute to the happiness and well-being of those not as fortunate as the rest of us," Vetter said.

"Currently the physically and/or intellectually challenged in our community have riding for disabled, Sailability, 8 Ball, and Special O from which to choose a sport and recreation.

"The addition of surfing will be greatly appreciated by those who'd either like to add to their current sporting involvement; or who haven't been able to find a niche with the existing ones."

Vetter said surfing for the disabled had been featured on the ABC and 60 Minutes.

"They have an incredible reputation; and safety is of paramount importance," she said.

To ensure all the board riders' safety, the association simply needs 'manpower' in the surf.

Volunteers don't need to swim, even though it does help, but even those with moderate swimming ability can assist in the shallower waters.

"We've taken our son to many of their meets, and have travelled as far south as Turner's Beach, near Yamba, for a surf," Vetter said.

Daffy Chisholm is one of the organisers who has been instrumental in establishing a number of branches along the east coast of NSW.

He will be at Rainbow Beach on Tuesday, March 20, for a public meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to determine if there is a groundswell of volunteers to help make this dream a reality.

Vetter urged as many people as possible to become involved in the organisation.

"Come on Cooloola, we've got an exquisite beach at Rainbow and we only want it two or three mornings a year to give these guys the ride of a lifetime."

If you are interested in helping out but cannot make it to the meeting, please phone Daffy on 0458 690 455.

The meeting will be held at the Rainbow Beach Life Saver's Club; 7-8pm.

Gympie Times


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