Perth’s Ocean Heroes set to host inclusive surfing day for kids on the autism spectrum

Isabel VieiraAlbany Advertiser
Ocean Heroes volunteers Xander De Haan and Em Saikovski with a surfer
Camera IconOcean Heroes volunteers Xander De Haan and Em Saikovski with a surfer Credit: Ocean Heroes

Great Southern kids who are on the autism spectrum will have the opportunity to catch a wave during a surfing event hosted by Perth’s Ocean Heroes at Middleton Beach on April 2.

Not-for-profit organisation Ocean Heroes will be travelling down from Perth to host a series of surfing days along the south coast for children on the autism spectrum.

The organisation, known for their popular surfing events at Perth’s northern beaches, will be hosting their first Albany event before travelling to Denmark to host a surfing day at Ocean Beach on April 3.

“A big part of what Ocean Heroes does is we try to provide the opportunity to enjoy the surf for the whole autism community whether that is Perth metro or regional,” co-founder Sam Moyle said.

“The big push for us is for everyone on the autism spectrum to have the opportunity to enjoy the surf in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.

“We know that regional towns miss out on a lot of these opportunities and services throughout the year so we put a big emphasis on coming to the regions.”

Ocean Heroes has a team of trained volunteers who take leave from their jobs to help run the programs as well as recruiting volunteers from the regions.

Mr Moyle said the surfing events provide a safe and supportive environment for people living with autism to try a new activity.

“With autism being a sensor neurodevelopmental disorder we feel that the ocean provides a lot of senses and a lot of new experiences for these families,” he said.

“A lot of the time these kids have never even been in the water let alone set foot on the sand.

“So going into a new outdoor environment like that in a highly supportive and structured environment allows them to cross these boundaries and try new experiences that they might not have done otherwise.”

The Ocean Heroes surfing event will take place at Middleton Beach on April 2, coinciding with one of the Great Southern Disabled Surfing Association’s Lets Go Surfing events.

“It was a coincidence but its actually turning out to be a really cool synergy and a really good opportunity for both the autism and overall disabilities community to have two events at the same day at the beach,” Mr Moyle said.

“I think it’s a win-win and what a great way to showcase surfing as a vehicle for these participants development and for their inclusiveness into the community.”

To reserve a surfing timeslot, visit Ocean Heroes Albany 2022 on Eventbrite.

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