Wrap-up of the INCLUSEA webinar celebrated in France

Wrap-up of the INCLUSEA webinar celebrated in France

Last September 16th, 2021, Inclusea’s partner Handi Surf organized a webinar as part of a European project whose goal is to establish a common teaching methodology for adapted surfing and to support the inclusion of people with diverse physical or sensorial capacities.


5 speakers met face-to-face and by videoconference to talk not only about this project but also about the different aspects of sport and disability.


Last Thursday, in Maison des Aidants premises, Handi Surf presented the INCLUSEA project to surfing stakeholders in France, but also to the adaptative sports and the world of sport in general. A project, funded by the European Commission as part of its Erasmus + Sport program, in partnership with 7 organizations from 5 European countries. Over 30 months, it aims to assess, develop and co-create good practice guides, aimed at establishing a common teaching methodology for surf educators who welcome people with physical and/or sensorial disabilities. It is thus a question of improving the accessibility of the sporting practice of these people for competitive, recreational, and/or therapeutic purposes, but also of promoting and highlighting the benefits of surfing on the health and well-being it provides.


To better understand the benefits of this practice, and to identify what the INCLUSEA project will offer people with disabilities, the association invited 5 speakers.


Adapted surfing under the gaze of professionals


A general practitioner, an anthropologist, a surf instructor specializing in adapted surfing, a vice-world champion in adapted surfing, and the founder of the Handi Surf association gathered for an hour and a half to share their thoughts and experiences on the benefits of surfing for people with disabilities. They spoke about the importance that the practice can have, taking the individual into account, and explained the techniques used to allow greater accessibility to the discipline. Having different expertise and perspectives, they analyze and experience the benefits of surfing on a variety of audiences. It was with passion and expertise that they were able to retain and captivate the audience’s attention and explain the real and direct benefits that surfing can have on the body and mind.


A physical and psychological reconstruction and forgetfulness of everyday life


After welcoming and explaining the INCLUSEA project to the whole audience, Éric Lapeyre, head of the physical medicine and rehabilitation service at the Percy army training hospital in Clamart and organizer of the “sport, Sea and Injury” course, began his speech and shared his knowledge and expertise on this matter. He was able to demonstrate the usefulness and importance of water sports as a means of physical and psychological reconstruction such as team spirit, cohesion, perception of danger, among other benefits.


Anne Sophie Sayeux, anthropologist and ethnologist specializing in subjects questioning the body and nature followed the webinar forgetting her own limitations. According to her, surfing brings “not only talking about surpassing oneself but also about the possibility of being oneself in the middle of nature and the ocean”.


A suitable material for greater accessibility


A discipline that requires a certain technique that can lead to as many questions as to the possibilities of exercising this activity. It will therefore be Julien Caste, Handi Surf coach, holder of a DU Autism, and trainer of the France Adapted Surf teams, who will speak on this theme providing some answers on the different practices and possibilities that exist in adapted surfing. Whether standing with material adaptations, kneeling, sitting with a paddle, lying down independently, or lying down with assistance, there are different ways of riding the waves whether it is leisure or competition. As Julien explains, in competitive adapted surfing, there are 7 categories for reduced/adapted mobility and 2 for sensorial disabilities which are designed according to the type of surfing practiced in order to maintain sporting fairness.


Last but not least, Eric Dargent, spoke about adapted equipment and more particularly prostheses for people with different capacities. Eric is a surfer and board sports enthusiast. Amputated below the knee, he has several victories in his category (several times Vice World Champion and European Adapted Surf Champion in 2019), and he is the founding president of the Surfeurs Dargent association. He knew how to create and develop prototypes for prostheses which he then enlarged and adapted to different sports.