12 November 2018
Board paddling could soon become a popular sport for those with spinal cord injuries and disabilities on the Sunshine Coast thanks to the efforts of three USC Occupational Therapy students.
Honours students Abbey Main, Erica Turner-Brown and Laura Gordon convinced Ocean Positive Foundation CEO Bruckner Chase from the United States to stage a pilot training session in the Maroochy River near the Cotton Tree swimming pool on Saturday 10 November.
Mr Chase, a surf lifesaving athlete from New Jersey and a strong advocate for para-surf lifesaving sport, will lead a Blue Journey Unified session with assistance from Beau Farrell of Crossbow Paddleboards, physiotherapists, surf club volunteers from Maroochydore and Mooloolaba, and the USC students.
The Occupational Therapy students have prepared an Honours research paper about the suitability of the sport for the region, entitled “Prone paddling: a suitable inclusive sport on the Sunshine Coast?”.
“Prone paddling is a unique sport allowing individuals with physical disabilities to participate without the need for specialised adapted equipment and consistent hands-on support,” they said.
After his visit to the Sunshine Coast, Mr Chase will spend some time on the Gold Coast to help launch the ongoing Blue Journey Australia Unified sessions with the Gold Coast Ocean Paddlers Club. The USC students would like to see a similar program established on the Sunshine Coast in the future.
More information about the Ocean Positive Foundation is available at http://www.bcoceanpositive.org/blue-journey-australia.html
- Terry Walsh