By Riley Saban
DSA (Disabled Surfers Australia) is a national organisation that allows all people with disabilities to participate in surfing. With the amazing support of DSA’s volunteers all abilities can surf on those gnarly waves. Surfing is an exceptional event to cool down and make friends and it’s an inclusive sport where everyone has the chance to win certificates and trophies. It’s a wonderful event to be hanging out with friends while munching on sausage sangers and enjoying a nice cold soft drink under the sun. I interviewed the founder ‘Gary Blanche’ to give you an inside look into this organisation and I also chatted to a friend of mine, Luke Graham, who is a participant of the DSA from Coffs Harbour.
These are the questions I asked Gary Blanche:
What motivated you to create DSA and did you see any exclusion in surfing before DSA came along?
Gary: My motivation was due to a motorcycle accident and me being told I would never surf again. I could not get out into the ocean for over 18 months and believed there were others in the same position, so I went to a few other surfing organisations for support and help and did not receive any. There was absolutely no inclusion in surfing and very little in other sports unless you had some ability to win a Gold medal.
Do you feel proud that you’re supporting the Coffs Coast?
Gary: I’m proud of the Coffs Community for their support of the DSA, as I am with all eighteen branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.
If you could say anything to the volunteers, what would it be?
Gary: Volunteers are what the DSA is all about, without them we have no organisation. As I head into my 35th year of running the D.S.A., I am totally blown away with not only us older volunteers but the amazing number of younger volunteers we attract.
I asked Luke Graham his thoughts on DSA and this is what he quoted:
“I’m Luke and I’ve been a member of Mid North Coast DSA for over 10 years. I’ve had some of the best wipeouts at DSA ! The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”
The whole crew of DSA certainly put “smiles on everyone’s dials.”
Luke and all the people who attend DSA do have a great time. I would personally like to say a big thanks to Gary and all of the volunteers who give up their time to create such a fun event and I suggest if anyone would like to learn to surf look up DSA on the web and attend an event. You won’t be disappointed.
Check out www.disabledsurfers.org