MONTEVIDEO – Disabled surfers are hitting Montevideo’s Brava beach Thursday, enjoying an outing organized to give them an opportunity to ride the waves while drawing attention to the lack of handicapped accessibility along Uruguay’s coast.
“There is a need for more accessible architecture along the entire coast, so these activities also draw attention to this need,” program organizer Ana Ortiz told EFE.
The program, “Sońando sobre las olas” (Dreaming on Waves), was created by the National Sports Secretariat, the Uruguayan National Lifeguards Association (ANGU) and the Montevideo city government’s Physical Education, Sports and Recreation Secretariat.
More than 50 people, or nearly double the number participating in last year’s inaugural event, turned out at Brava beach to hit the waves.
“The theme is surfing as one – volunteers, participants, teachers, lifeguards – we’re all riding the same wave, helping a person enjoy it, riding the wave until the last possible moment,” said Ortiz, a lifeguard and physical education teacher.
Although Thursday’s event received special billing, the Montevideo Sea School organizes surfing outings for the disabled every Saturday in January and February, which are summer months in the Southern Hemisphere.
The program offers disabled people a chance to enjoy surfing, helping improve their quality of life “via the therapeutic aspects provided by sports,” the Montevideo city government said in a statement.
Officials also tied the event into a campaign to prevent drownings.
“What we’re trying to do via surfing is teach the participants, students and families about (drowning) prevention, how to read the beach, the signs, and respect them,” Ortiz said.