Ausnew Home Care | SalTy Souls Legacy's learn-to-surf program helps

SalTy Souls Legacy's learn-to-surf program helps kids struggling with DV, disability and bullying

disability Disability Employment Services disability law disability stereotypes intellectual disability Living With a Disability NDIS NDIS Aged Care Approved no ‘dis’ in disability. Seeing the ability in disability

Eleven-year-old Harry, who escaped a domestic violence situation with his mother and siblings, admits he sometimes gets angry.

But he discovered that surfing helped him relax though his involvement with the SalTy Souls Legacy program on the Sunshine Coast.

"It makes me feel happy and, like, if you get angry, you can just go out and just enjoy yourself," Harry said.

The primary school student was one of the first graduates from the charity surf program three years ago on the Sunshine Coast.

His mother, who cannot be identified, said Harry stood up during his first lesson and never looked back.

"For a child that doesn't know how to express and understand all the feelings, it just takes all that away once he goes out there," she said.

She said she was "taken aback" when her son was offered a surfboard after five weeks of free lessons.

"Everything — it's all handed to you.

"Wetsuits … they just give so much I can't explain it — it's just unbelievable.

The program is so popular that families must must put their names on waiting lists to join, and lessons are now run from Noosa to Burleigh Heads.

Four children in black rash vests stand in a row holding surfboards.
Every child that completes the program gets a free surfboard and wetsuit.(

ABC Sunshine Coast: Jacqui Street


Keeping a surfer's memory alive

Co-founder Tamara Smith said SalTy Souls Legacy began after her brother Tyler Kennedy died on a surfing trip in Bali in 2017.

The family agreed that supporting children would be the best way to remember their own "big kid", so they began selling merchandise incorporating a drawing Mr Kennedy had done.

Those sales funded the first surf lessons for children before sponsors came on board.

"We are unique in the fact that we offer a six-week program, so they do actually learn to surf." Ms Smith said.

Blonde woman smiling on sunny day at beach with four young girls around her and trees behind
Tamara Smith, seen here with SalTy Souls graduates, founded the program after her younger brother's death.(

ABC Sunshine Coast: Jacqui Street


'Absolutely beautiful'

The most recent graduates were kids aged between five and 17 who faced a range of challenges.

"So we have kids with disability, we have kids learning difficulties," Ms Smith said.

"We're just all in this together."

Two teenage girls in black rash vests stand smiling on a beach with surfboards under their arms.
Jennifer Byfield says her daughter Harriet (left) increased in confidence during the program and also made a friend.(

ABC Sunshine Coast: Jacqui Street


Jennifer Byfield's daughter Harriet Byfield, who lives with autism and intellectual disabilities, graduated from SalTy Souls over the October long weekend.

Harriet overcame worries about the water and not fitting in, Mrs Byfield said.

"It's not a hindrance, but she always has lacked that confidence because [it's] sort of known that she's not like everybody else," Mrs Byfield said.

"But this program is excellent for including everybody."

As well as increasing in confidence, Harriet made a friend.

"That was absolutely beautiful to see," Mrs Byfield said

Boy aged about 10 surfs small wave standing up with knees bent as surf coach watches in background.
Children in the SalTy Souls program learn to surf over five weeks.(

ABC Sunshine Coast: Jacqui Street


Feeling swell

Ms Smith said the organisation had a mix of paid and volunteer staff, but the next goal was to pay surf coaches for lessons during school hours.

"Just making it more available, especially for kids through school Monday to Friday," she said.

A blonde woman smiling on sunny day at the beach with four young girls around her and trees behind.
Volunteer and professional SalTy Souls coaches support children facing a range of challenges.(

ABC Sunshine Coast: Jacqui Street


Another mother, Emma, said she was "stoked" for her seven-year-old son Jonathan, who has some mobility issues with joints and muscles.

"It was great for me as well — I got to meet other mums on the beach in similar situations," she said.

"Just a really nice bunch of people who organised it."

Seven-year-old Jonathan was also delighted with his own progress.

"I caught a wave and I was just on it for a while and then I stood up and then we [did a] high five," he said.


Source: ABC

Older Post Newer Post