Info from taken from this weeks press release:
On a beautiful sunny day last weekend, with perfect small waves rolling into Gwithian Beach, combat veterans and family members all came and surfed alongside Surf Action.
The St Buryan based group that provide surf and beach clinics every Friday at Gwithian Beach for local veterans and people over 50 have been looking forward to the first Surf Camp of the season. In addition to the weekly clinics, this summer will see six surf camps specifically funded by the Big Lottery, which Surf Action won last year for South West veterans and members of the blue light services who may be suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
These camps are about having fun and letting go, but the core purpose is to focus on the well-being and support of combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their families. Director Rich Emerson states “We are a group actively engaging veterans in physical activities that are truly building self-esteem and confidence. As a result of winning the lottery fund, we now have some new surfboards designed for those with reduced mobility and new warm wetsuits for our particpants. We are so lucky to have C-Skins providing our wetsuits, we’re a professional organisation and now, thanks to C-Skins, look the part too. We would like to thank Sunset Surf Café who continually show support and provided the lunches for the event, but also raised £90 through a Grand National sweep- stake.”
Rich Emerson was delighted when talking about one veteran, Mike Lehardy, who took to the water for the second time, showed that as an older person, being focusing on an activity can keep you positive and physically active. “Mike was bouncing around the beach like a teenager and had not forgotten the skills he learnt from the last time he surfed, this is why we do this, he’s an inspiration to others and will now be part of each surf camp as a volunteer.”
One local veteran, Simon Green enjoyed the day from another perspective, having surf previously on a number of occasion’s, he proudly watched his son Chris surf the waves. Simon, a professional photographer, joined Russ Pierre on the beach to begin their film and photography project. Simon stated, “This project will focus on how the veterans can move forward and look at a positive future, it will be educational and raise awareness.”
Surf Action recently received a much needed grant from the Cornwall Community Foundation to buy some photographic equipment that will allow them to record the memories of these days, develop their media presence, but also to introduce family workshops where photography and film will be part of the ongoing beach project of Surf Action.
Essentially they are not a surf school, but a group of surfers with a variety of skills who recognise the benefits of surfing. “What we believe we have achieved (although not medically), is that surfing boosts moral, confidence, self esteem and can be complimentary therapy. By simply using surfing we have brought a smile to many faces and shown them that anything is possible.” Says Rich Emerson.
Surf Action would also like to say a big thank you to Cornwall Works and Cornwall Works 50+ Cares for their continued support and belief in what they do, ASP-Industries for providing all weather Jackets and all our family and friends.