For many years in Australia there has been surfers that have had to overcome some sort of disability to be able to get back into the ocean and surf. These surfers have proven themselves to be resilient and creative by adapting their own techniques and equipment to achieve this with help from their friends in the surfing community.
There are so many different types of disabilities that can still surf and surf at a high level. This was never more evident than in 2015 when the International Surfing Association (ISA) held the first ever World Adaptive Surfing Championships in La Jolla, California. Over 75 entrants from 18 countries competed in 4 divisions. It was a major success and has opened up the world to Adaptive surfing.
Surfing Australia sent a strong 3-man team, Jake Mathews, Jade ‘Red’ Wheatley and Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart. The boys represented their country in style putting on a great display and considering they had limited time to train for the competition, performed exceptionally well. Jake and Jade made the ¼ finals and Mark [Mono] won the Gold in the ‘Stand Division’. With Mono winning the inaugural World title it has really bought the focus on Adaptive surfing back to Australia.
Surfing Australia wants to continue this momentum and assist those Adaptive Surfers who have the competitive spirit and want to travel and meet other adaptive surfers and share experiences. In June 2016 we will be holding the inaugural Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles to select the team to compete at this year’s ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships later this year (date TBC). In addition to these events, training camps at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre are also being planned to give support to help Adaptive Surfers achieve their goals.
We recognise the importance of Australia supporting all our adaptive surfers and ensuring they progress up to international standards to make the most of these opportunities and show the world that Australia has the highest standard of Adaptive surfing.
Another exciting opportunity will be the decision pending at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio to include surfing in the Tokyo Olympics for 2020. This will open up opportunities for Adaptive Surfing to also push for inclusion in the Paralympics.
If you are an Adaptive Surfer and are interested in getting involved please email Chris Symington, General Manager Sport Development & High Performance at [email protected] or call (07) 5599 3800.
2016 Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles
The 2016 Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles will be a three day event that aims to not only crown Australian Champions but gather the Adaptive Surfing community together to meet and discuss how we can work together to develop the sport at all levels. The Surfing Australia High Performance Centre provides the perfect location to host this historic occasion which will encompass a Forum, Coaching Clinic and Competition. The dates for the event are currently scheduled for June 20-22, 2016 and will run as follows:
Day 1 – ASA Forum
The Adaptive Surfers of Australia (ASA) Forum will be a meeting of key stakeholders from across Australia to discuss the future development of Adaptive Surfing. The one day forum will be hosted at the Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre and will have keynote speakers, panel discussions and presentations on a variety of topics all in relation to the development and growth of Adaptive Surfing. Topics will include but not be limited to Adaptive Surfing Classifications, Judging, Coaching, Equipment and Fundraising opportunities.
Day 2 – Adaptive Surfing Coaching Clinic
The second day of the Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles will be dedicated to practical coaching and learning both for our athletes and our coaches. Coaching sessions will be conducted to ensure all participants are confident and comfortable with their classifications before entering the competition stage the following day. For some surfers they may have never taken part in a competitive heat before, so heat drills and simulations may be used to introduce participants to a competitive surfing format. The day will also be used to inform our coaches on how to best move forward with the ongoing coaching of Adaptive Surfers in the future.
Day 3 – Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles
The first ever Australian Adaptive Surfing Titles will take place over one day (depending on entries) on the beaches of the Tweed Coast in Northern NSW. There will be six (6) divisions catered for which are aligned to the divisions offered at the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships. Winners of these divisions will then be automatically selected into the Australian Team with a chance to compete for a World Title.
In conducting an Australian Titles and selecting a team to compete at the World Championships we will then be allowed to field a team of up to eight athletes in the following six classifications:
- 2 athletes – AS 1 (Stand/Kneel – Upper Limb Amputees, BK amputees)
- 2 athletes – AS 2 (Stand/Kneel – Kneel, AK amputees)
- 1 athlete – Visually Impaired
- 1 athlete – Upright (Waveski)
- 1 athlete – Prone
- 1 athlete – Assist
Note: From 2015 the ISA has added two new classifications and are reserving a competition spot for one woman per team. At this year’s event, the ISA will also be adding Team Points into the format in which ALL athletes will earn points that will calculate to their National Team’s total. A Team Champion will then be crowned at the Closing Ceremony.
2015 TEAM AUSTRALIA PROFILES
Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart
Gold Medal Winner – 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Titles
To read the full story on Mono’s amazing journey click on the link below: http://commongroundaustralia.com/byronbay/community/a-drop-in-the-ocean-mark-mono-stewart/
If you have any questions for Mono you can email him at [email protected]
Jade ‘Red’ Wheatley
Qtr. finalist – 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Titles
To read Red’s story in full click on the link below:
If you have any questions for Red you can email him at [email protected]
Qtr. finalist – 2015 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Titles
To read Jake’s story click on the link below:
If you have any questions for Jake you can email him at [email protected]
View the original article on Surfingaustralia.com