A surfboard designed by a team from Swansea especially so that disabled children can experience the thrill of the ocean, is making waves on the other side of the world in Japan.
The Cerebra Innovation Centre – a partnership between the charity, Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David – designed the surfboard for children with limited mobility and brain conditions. It allows wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water. The tandem design includes a supportive seat for the child and plenty of space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. They have been a great success providing endless hours of fun to thrill-seeking children who could not otherwise experience the benefits and thrill of catching waves.
Following its successful launch in 2016 the board has been popular across the UK, and now, the world. Cartan McLaughlin, an Irishman living in Japan, bought a Cerebra Surfboard for his own organisation called Sean’s Club. Sean, Cartan’s son, is 10 years old and has Down’s Syndrome and Sean’s Club is dedicated to helping children with Down Syndrome reach their full potential.
They have just held a launch event on Tatadohama Beach in Shimoda, Japan which was a huge success. Cartan McLaughlin said: “It was amazing! A brilliant day. Can I get another board? Many Thanks to the Cerebra Team and especially to Dr. Ross Head – Associate Professor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)”.
Dr Ross Head explains that the surfboard is essentially a very large, purpose designed and built board, 12ft long, 30 inches wide and 6 inches deep. This gives it the floatation and stability required for the bucket seat to be positioned on top. The seat is attached via an adjustable laser-cut aluminium wedge which allows the seat to be positioned and angled correctly. This can be altered on the beach between users; the heavier the user, the further back the seat can slide to enable the board to glide smoothly at the correct angle.
To date there are Cerebra Surfboards in Aberavon and Caswell in south Wales, Cornwall, and the Isle of Wight with The Wave Project, one in Larne in Northern Ireland, and now one in Japan. Cartan plans to add another two boards this year, and five in 2019.
Dr Head commented: “We are so happy and so proud that our surfboard has brought happiness to another bunch of children and to be so far away on such a beautiful sandy beach in Japan adds a magical element to the story. The surfboards are a real work of art and very time consuming to build by the whole team, including Roger Cooper who shapes the board itself. Cartan has already asked if he can order another!”
The surfboard was created in partnership between the Cerebra Innovation Centre and Roger Cooper. The Innovation Centre is a partnership project with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is based the University’s ALEX Design Exchange in Swansea.
Cerebra is a charity helping families who have a child with a brain condition to discover a better life together. The team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are dedicated to designing and making bespoke products that enrich a child’s life, giving them new experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
We help families that include children with brain conditions find a better life together…
Families, where a child has a brain condition, face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. But we don’t believe there’s any challenge that can’t be overcome.
So we listen to families, we learn from them, we work with them. We carry out research, we design and innovate, and we make and share. From new equipment to new learning resources, to new ways to play and support each other, everything we find out together makes life better. It opens new doors to discovering the world.
It’s an incredibly rewarding journey for everyone involved. Why not be part of it? You never know what we’ll discover together.
There’s lots more information on our website www.cerebra.org.uk.