Illawarra Mercury

All hands on deck for surfing day

Date: 08/04/2005
Words: 319
Source: ILL
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Sport
Page: 56
THE South Coast Disabled Surfers Association's fourth annual Hands On Day at Gerroa Beach on Sunday was a magic day for all involved.

The weather was perfect, the water warm and the waves small.

With host longboard club, Club MAL-nutrition, supplementing the 60-person helper pool, the 17 participants surfed for up to four hours and Wollongong Roller Hawks imports Nick Taylor (South Africa) and Travis Moffat (New Zealand) got a taste of a new sport.

SCDSA secretary Jim Bradley praised the efforts of Sydney's Kelly McCann who, with full quadriplegia, required constant breathing assistance.

"Additionally Kelly has a tracheotomy which has to be constantly managed while she is in the water," Bradley said.

"Kelly, surrounded by her team of 20 helpers ... surfed eight waves in her initial session.

"With her tandem rider Sarah Ciantar and under the direction of her attendant nurse Marisa Smith, who resuscitated Kelly on the board between waves with a hand-held resuscitator, Kelly had an absolute ball. It is almost impossible to overstate what an inspiration Kelly serves to us all and what a humbling experience it is for us helpers in whom she has placed such trust.

"Kelly is an absolute champion."

Awards were also presented to participants including: wave of the day - Sam Hardaker, who for the first time in 11 years of attending got to his knees for long rides; wipeouts of the day - Julia Corderoy and Nick Taylor for some stellar face plants; most inspirational summer - Martin and Marusha Rowe, both first time surfers; helpers of the day - everyone but with two special mentions of Nicole Clark and Sarah Ciantar; surfer of the day - Kelly McCann, who went back into the surf after the event officially ended for another hour.

South Coast Disabled surfing events now go into recess until spring. For disabled surfing details go to

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