Wake Me Up

18th August 2012

Liquid Leisure, Datchet Nr Slough

Wakeboarding is a blend of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding and holds an enormous amount of health benefits. iDID was keen to make the sport accessible for everyone and set out to launch an inclusive event... Wake Me Up

iDID's Wake Me Up, Berkshire event aimed to open up wakeboarding to deaf and disabled young adults. At iDID, we believe that action sports offer a radical alternative to traditional sporting pass times and promote the high level of engagement and health benefits these activities hold for young adults.

It was fantastic to see such a range of people at the event. There were non-disabled individuals who had disabled family members, Deaf BSL users, lip-readers, people affected by neurological conditions and mental health issues, and also individuals that were just passionate about inclusion.

Participants excitedly arrived and were each given an iDID Goodie bag which included energy drinks, snacks and lots of iDID goodies. The health and safety briefings took place and everyone was eager to get to the water (the weather was amazing!). As part of iDID's training, the instructors adapted their teaching methods to include a visual demo and to ensure everyone was well prepared before taking on the board. As with most beginners, it is wise to start on a kneeboard to get used to the pull of the cable.

One of the brave lads volunteered to go first and was absolutely brilliant... on his first go! One by one, everyone's confidence grew and before we knew it, everyone was doing well on the kneeboard. With a bit of banter in the group, everyone pursuaded to get the interpreters and volunteers in the water as well... who knew Remark interpreters were prepared to get soaked on the job?! Our own Director headed in the water too (without needing too much persuasion).

After a while, some of the participants wanted to push their limits and tried the stand up Wakeboard. This is the beauty of wakeboarding; you can chose whichever equipment you want, kneeboarding is a wakeboarding discipline in its own right. There are also sit ski's, mono-ski's and a variety of adapted equipment available to suit your needs.

Following two hours of cable time, everyone was on a high and the atmosphere was electric. No-one wanted it to end... and it didn't!

To aid the competitive spirit on the cable, iDID hosted a volleyball competition to celebrate the Olympics and the coming Paralympics. Who would have thought such a friendly bunch could be so competitive?! It was a fantastic game with very close scoring... right down to the last two points was a tie!

The iDID T-shirt prize was given to the best player, as voted by the participants. The iDID Mug was received well by the 'best loser'. After an exhausting day, everyone had much needed drinks and ice-cream in the bar before heading on their way.

It was brilliant to see such a variety of people working together and supporting each other through the power of sport. Barriers were broken, not only between the people taking part but also by the instructors; the only thing in focus was the incredible ability of all of the participants.

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