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Courtesy of Paulette Phlipot

What is windsurfing for people with disabilities?

Windsurfing for people with disabilities is the same thrill as it is for any able-bodied windsurfer. It is the wind, water, waves and the realization that we are doing something truly unique. But for people living with disabilities, it is so much more than that - it is fuller participation in a society where limitations abound. It can be the experience of a lifetime!

Until recently, windsurfing has been an inaccessible sport to people living with physical and mental disabilities. Thanks to the efforts of Wind Adventures, and the advent of wide board technology by Starboard, the sport of windsurfing has expanded to include people living with disabilities.

People living with disabilities can windsurf on the Starboard Start Board with its accompanying 5.0 meter rig. Some people stand on the board with assistance from an instructor, while others sit on the board as the instructor sails the rig. In the near future, the creators of disabled windsurfing hope to invent an apparatus that will enable a person to sit on the board and hold the sail independently.

Disabled windsurfing has been incredibly successful in its first year of operation. It continues to expand at a rapid rate, and will hopefully see entrance to the Olympics in the year 2008. The greatest benefit for those who experience windsurfing is the increase in self-esteem, and the recognition that they are able to participate more fully in society.


Windsurfing Instructor wanted in Victoria, BC. Canada. Summer 2002. Full time position beginning in June. Experience teaching and working with people with disabilities a must. E-mail; disabledwindsurfing@yahoo.com and visit www.windsurfingvictoria.com to find out more.

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