Waves of inclusion at the Outdoor Sports Euro’Meet 2022 in Denmark
The Outdoor Sports community seeks the transferability of the INCLUSEA toolkit to other sports.
INCLUSEA’s Spanish and Portuguese delegations presented the latest findings to engage people with disabilities to surf and connect with the ocean safely. The seminar celebrated during the 6th edition of the Outdoor Sports Euro Meet in Silkeborg, Denmark, brought the attention of international stakeholders and representatives of Outdoor Sports organizations, aiming to find the transferability of INCLUSEA’s toolkit to other sports.
Last September 14th to 16th 2022, Silkeborg, Denmark hosted the largest outdoor sports gathering. People from all over Europe met, shared, and learned about the latest developments, trends, and initiatives of the outdoor sports sector.
INCLUSEA’s Spanish and Portuguese delegations delivered some preliminary findings of the Erasmus+ Sport funded project that aims to improve the skills of trainers and professionals in the field of adapted surfing for people with physical or sensory disabilities.
Cutting-edge research, pre-capitalization, and analysis to bridge the evidence gap and investigate best practices and strategies to support and promote adapted surfing activities, as well as to improve the quality of life of its participants.
Javier Cantera, coordinating partner of INCLUSEA and European Projects Manager of the Regional Society of Education, Culture and Sports of Cantabria, Spain, aimed to inspire, share practice, discuss challenges, show solutions, and priorities of this project that gathers researchers, coaches and technicians of 7 organizations from 5 different countries to develop an innovative toolkit that will provide guidance to conduct adapted surfing programs for competitive, recreational, and/or therapeutic purposes.
After an overview of the current status of the work and the recent achievements accomplished, Javier gave some positive perspectives on inclusion through the surf activity and future directions on how this adapted surf teaching toolkit will foster and promote greater inclusion and accessibility for people with physical and/or sensory disabilities in Europe.
“15% of the European population has some kind of physical, sensory, or mental disability. That’s over 100 Million people facing daily challenges to overcome numerous barriers. We should stop using yesterday’s terms, prejudices, myths, values, and narratives, to work on a more inclusive approach through sport and let everyone enjoy our seascapes and landscapes.” “There are substantial benefits related to physical activity in a healthy and natural environment that should be accessible to all. A deep connection with nature, especially in a clean and well-protected environment, will bring those benefits for the body and mental health of those who enjoy it, as well as comfort, solace, release, escape, and even being more aware of our surroundings. Surfing is a great tool for healing, mitigating, and defeating barriers. It generates a positive impact on the lives of anyone who practice it. INCLUSEA consortium is working on a toolkit that will guide surf coaches and instructors of all Europe through good practices to improve the skills of people with different disabilities, and will share the benefits that surf provides while letting them access the ocean safely.”
INCLUSEA’s main objective is to foster and promote more social inclusion and equal opportunities in sport and nature through the creation of a toolkit for teaching adapted surfing. It will facilitate the surf instructor’s good guidance to find greater accessibility to the “blue spaces” for competitive, recreational, and/or therapeutic purposes. It aims to promote and enhance the health and well-being that surfing provides among people that currently face numerous difficulties accessing aquatic sports. A methodology based on scientific evidence and evaluated best practices and teaching methods that let participants achieve the learnings and skills necessary to enjoy surfing at all levels with guarantees of safety, promotion, and sustainability.
Our Portuguese academic team represented Dr. Ronaldo Gabriel, head researcher of the University of Tràs os Montes e Alto Douro and specializing in sports, highlighted the importance of the steps taken, the benefits are proven, and he went deeper through the first findings that the project has revealed on its first stages. The systematic staged approach involves state-of-the-art research, the design of an evident-based framework, and the pilot activity/validation/conclusion for the adapted surf toolkit that is being developed for competitive, recreational, and/or therapeutic purposes.
Joao Zamith, director of Surf Clube Viana and during Euro’Meet 2022 re-elected by vote to the board of ENOS (European Network of Outdoor Sports), also joined the seminar and shared some good examples from the field. He also presented teammate Sofia Gonçalves, one of the surf coaches of Viana who kept participants active and awake during this session while inviting everyone to dance and stretch previous to the talks.
The audience was fully engaged and willing to learn more. During the final debates, different stakeholders demanded how we could adapt his innovative toolkit to other outdoor sports, and how these good practices could be transferred to bring some guidance to other outdoor sports instructors around the world. INCLUSEA team invited them to experience it directly first during the multiplier event that will take place in Somo, Cantabria (Spain) next April so they will know first-hand.