Press Releases 2014-2015

UWTSD Academics Create Surf Access for Disabled Children

20.10.2015

Kai LewisUniversity of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) academics have successfully tested two pioneering new surfing products for disabled children at Llangennith beach in the Gower.

UWTSD academics, working with national charity Cerebra, Surfability UK, Roger Cooper Surfboards, Surf Tonic Therapy and Walking on Water Surf School, have created two products designed to ensure surfing and surf access for disabled children.

The team tested the new products at Llangennith beach and they were helped by thirteen-year old surf enthusiast Kai Lewis, from Port Talbot, who has cerebral palsy following a stroke at the age of one.

The products have been created by the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), a collaborative social enterprise project between national children’s charity Cerebra and UWTSD. CIC is a team of product design graduates from the University who design and produce innovative bespoke solutions for brain-injured children. Their mission is to develop high-quality products that help the children, and increase social inclusion, through intelligent and well-styled design.

During the summer, CIC have developed two products:

 

  • In collaboration with Surfability UK and Roger Cooper Surfboards, CIC have developed and manufactured a tandem surf board with a supportive “bucket” seat that can be used by disabled children whilst being controlled by a trained surf instructor.

 

  • In collaboration with Surf Tonic Therapy, CIC have developed a Surf Access Vehicle. It was designed by UWTSD automotive design Masters degree graduate Ben Hammonds while on work placement with CIC.

 

Both products are for use by children with neurological conditions and have been developed with Surfability UK (surfing for disabled children) and Tonic Surf Therapy (based on the evidence of the effectiveness of surf/ocean therapy programmes in the UK and USA).

Speaking after the testing Dr Ross Head, CIC Product Design Manager, said: “The day went so well. We could not have hoped for better surf conditions, weather, and great team of people with the desire to make this work. It was an amazing feeling to see Kai surf past shouting with joy.”

He continued: “Recent news coverage has detailed professional level surfing and brought it to an international audience. The sport continues to grow at a very fast pace. Many disabled surf charities are in existence around the world but they are all trying to use regular surfing and other beach access equipment to enable disabled children and adults to surf.

“Since its inception CIC has made a tremendous difference to the lives of many children with neurological conditions across the UK. The unique strategic vision for CIC means that we are able to respond to individual requests for help and can make small numbers of bespoke products that focus heavily on individual requirements and inclusion into society. Some of the products in the portfolio are now being commercialised in partnership with third-party manufacturers under licensing agreements.”

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 01792 483695 / 07872 423788 or email steven.stokes@uwtsd.ac.uk.