“Everything is Possible and No is not an Answer”
Here at Long Line we want to provide the best quality service you will ever recieve and we like to follow our very good service moto of everything is possible and No is not an answer. If you want a surf package but you can’t see one which you like on our site then tell us what you want and we will do it. Your experience which you have down at Long Line Surf School is one we want you to remeber forever and if it encourages you take up the sport full time then that is our mission complete. When I sat down over a year ago and decided to set up my own surf school I wanted to make sure that everyone could do it whether you were 5 or 65 years old. Now when I sat down with my journal and worked this all out I decided that people in Northern Ireland who have disability should be able to experience this just as much as anyone else. I kept a close eye on the special olympics and paralympics and there is a lot of athletes out there with disabiltes who are a lot better at some sports than I will ever be. So why not gets Disabled Surfing brought to Northern Ireland. It exists in England, America and Australia so lets offer it as well.
After a lot of researching and training to get myself up to a level where I felt comfortable to take a lesson for someone with a disabiltiy we created Lesson structures for all types of disabilties just to make sure we didn’t exclude anyone. We then got together with one of my best friends and my surfboard Shaper Will Eastham who is the proud owner of W.E Surfboards. He came up with a custom designed surfboard which would be specialied for people who may be in a wheel chair or has a disability and isn’t comfortable with surfing on their own. Since I have been surfing Will’s boards for a few years now and would never have anyone else making them for me, I trusted him to make my special needs surfboards for me.
These boards are 9’6″ with a large squash tail, boxed rails and a step deck for better support. These then had a large 9″ single fin and a deep V concave to keep as much stability in the board as possible. We very lucky to have got custom straps made by Pete Gaisford from Gaisford surf equipment who is the main supplier of RNLI rescue boards to the UK. Each board had 6 straps which were screwed tightly into the sides of the boards.
The whole design concept behind the boards is that if you have a disabled surfer who may be in a wheel chair then they can lye down on the front and the instructor can be put behind them with their chest over the large squash tail. The instructor will then be able to steer the board for them giving the client an experience of surfing and riding a wave in the safety of a qualified instructor. If the client wanted to do it on their own then that is no probem either as they just have to come further down the board and hold onto the middle straps where they can surf in prone positon or even have a god attempt at standing up or riding on their knees.
The great things about these boards is that they were given GoPro Fcs mounts on the nose of each board so you can film the experience for the client and they can keep a video of themselves surfing in HD quality. This is something which really excites me as it is very rewarding to see someone leave Long Line with a smile and excitment to show their friends what they did that day.
In these photos you can see that we were their every step of the way during the creation process from the foam being shaped then glassed, sanded and finally having the straps screwed in.
Once I got the boards and put the fins in I was very eager to go and test drive them as you can’t teach people how to surf if you havn’t sured them for yourself. Attched the GoPro and off I went down to Benone Beach. Had an amazing surf and loved how the board worked. Great location and great board and I am sure the people who come down for disabled lessons will also agree.
Check out www.longlinesurf.com for our special needs lessons and more information of how to book 🙂
Definitly one of the most proudest things I have ever been part of and this is just the beginning of a sport which I look to push in the future and get as many people out in the water no matter what type of diability they have. We encourage a lifestyle….. Not just a sport.