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Surf’s up! Limb different surfers hit The Wave to trial new Koalaa prosthetic

At Koalaa, we are committed to working with our users to create prosthetics they really want and need, and which enable them to pursue their passions – whatever those interests may be!

So we were super excited when our design team was challenged to come up with a prosthetic sleeve that could help make surfing more accessible for those with upper body limb differences.

Nicole Brennan Trialing the ALX and Surfing Tool

Working in collaboration with the IAMPOSSIBLE Foundation and The Wave in Bristol - the UK’s leading inland surfing destination - we set to work. One of the key challenges being to design a sleeve that was comfortable and secure but also strong enough to enable an individual to push up off the board when attempting to stand up.

Ready and rearing to go with our new surfing prosthetic sleeve, the Koalaa team headed to The Wave, to see the design put through its paces.

After fitting a group of adults and children with upper body limb differences with a surfing sleeve, they were treated to a beginner’s surfing lesson with The Wave’s expert coaches. It was an absolutely amazing experience and we cannot thank all the attendees enough, for not only taking part but for sharing their feedback with us.

Making surfing accessible for all

Nicole Brenan, founder of IAMPOSSIBLE, was born with a congenital limb difference . She explains: “I have always wanted to try surfing but it never felt like a sport that was available to me. To have the opportunity to collaborate with Koalaa’s design team to create a prosthetic that helps make surfing accessible for those with limb differences is a dream come true!”

Nicole continued: “So often disabled individuals are met with barriers and limitations when it comes to prosthetics and physical activities but to be able to empower the surfers with the choice to try these prosthetics, alongside having the support of adaptive surfing coaches, was just amazing."

“We need to change the narrative on what it means to be disabled and to challenge the barriers that stop activities and adaptive aids being accessible to those with disabilities.”

The Wave’s Founder, Nick Hounsfield, has always been passionate about making surfing accessible to all. He commented: “We built accessibility into The Wave from the very beginning and are always looking at ways to remove barriers to anyone being able to get on a board and share the joy of surfing. We want people to reap the many health benefits of surfing, whatever their age, background or ability.

“It’s been brilliant to be part of the work IAMPOSSIBLE and Koalaa are doing to develop tailored prosthetics for different activities.”

Nate Macabuag, Founder of Koalaa, added: “I have always seen Koalaa as a service that is there to support people to do whatever they want, without limitations. It is great to team up with like-minded organisations like IAMPOSSIBLE and The Wave, who are increasing the equity in activities like surfing for disabled individuals."

Project Limitless

The surfing prosthetics were provided free of charge to attendees under the age of 18, as part of a special initiative called Project Limitless.

The project aims to provide every child in the UK who needs one with access to a free prosthetic arm and has already helped hundreds of young people across the country.

  • You can also donate £5 by texting the word PLAY05 to 70970.

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