A GROUP of WA surfers are changing the lives of children with autism, one wave at a time.
Ocean Heroes founder and director Luke Hallam along with Sam Moyle (director), Tom Johnston (director), Steph Hudson (beach co-ordinator) and Jason Vivian earlier this year fundraised to bring the concept from an American group doing a similar thing.
Mr Hallam said through his work as a personal trainer he had worked with many children with autism, yet none had ever tried or had the opportunity to go surfing.
This made him and his friends want to start the not-for-profit organisation in Perth.
“We fundraised to bring these guys out and we had an event with 200 kids at Trigg,” Mr Hallam said.
“After that event Tom, Sam and I got together to start Ocean Heroes.
“In May we held our first event, our second in September and our last event was at Brighton Beach earlier this month.
“We had 75 kids and it went off, it was the most perfect day.”
The 26-year-old said since the organisation started he had seen many changes in the children taking up surfing with parents thrilled with the results.
“It varies from kid to kid just like autism, we’ve had kids who have come surfing and when they go to school they are changed kids and want to do everything new,” he said.
“You get some kids who are pretty scared but that’s what we are there for to hold their hands and guide them.
“We try to explain to them this one of many things they can do and we break down boundaries for them.”
Mr Hallan said the organisation, which recently aligned itself with the Telethon Kids Institute, would look to hold monthly events during the summer months and possibly go rural and the east coast next year.
WHAT: Ocean Heroes – Surfing the Spectrum
WHERE: Brighton Beach, Scarborough