A mixture of athletes, administrators’ and instructors gathered in Mount Maunganui on Saturday 2 September for the inaugural Adaptive Surfing Conference. This “meeting of the minds” made possible with the support of Halberg Disability Sport Foundation was an important step in the formation of a development pathway for ‘Adaptive surfers” in New Zealand.
The conference was facilitated by Surfing New Zealand’s Development Manager Lee Ryan and Marcus Thompson, CEO of the newly formed Adaptive Surfing New Zealand, an organisation set up to cater for athletes with a disability who wish to take part in the sport of surfing at both the grassroots and competitive levels. Marcus represented New Zealand at the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships in La Jolla, California in 2015.
Cherryl Thompson attended the conference on behalf of Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and was impressed with the collaboration of clubs, athletes and surfers from across New Zealand who all had a love for surfing and wanted to share their love of the sport with others.
Guest speaker Bruce Campbell, a South African amputee who competed at the ISA World Adaptive Championships in California spoke of the importance of a competitive pathway now that surfing is an Olympic Sport and has the potential to be in future Paralympics in 2024 and beyond. Campbell’s passion was evident.
“This is our sport and we need to take ownership” Campbell said.
The next meeting is scheduled for Christchurch in early 2018. If you would like to be kept informed on opportunities available for adaptive surfers please head to the Adaptive Surfing New Zealand Facebook page.
For further information on Adaptive Surfing, please contact Adaptive Surfing NZ CEO Marcus Thompson on 022 075 0847 or email firstname.lastname@example.org