‘The smile says it all’: the Cornish surf school for disabled people

Tom Butler, founder of ocean sports organisation, Coastal Crusaders, pushes Hannah Rudlin-Jones out through the breaking waves. Photograph: Luke Gartside/The Guardian

Newquay-based Coastal Crusaders brings the joys and freedom of the ocean to many children who never thought it possible

by Frankie Adkins in Newquay. Photographs by Luke Gartside

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Mon 12 Sep 2022 02.00 EDTLast modified on Mon 12 Sep 2022 11.32 EDT

A wheelchair tracks down the yellow sand of Newquay’s Great Western Beach, steered towards the Atlantic Ocean by a team clad in wetsuits. At the water’s edge, they pause, transferring 12-year-old Brody Walters from the security of his seat to a bright yellow surfboard, before wading out into the gentle, waist-high waves.

“I never thought we would see Brody on a surfboard because he can’t even sit up unaided,” says his mother Kelly, watching from the shoreline. “After he’s been in the water we notice a huge difference. He absolutely loves it – the smile says it all.”

Beau Walters pushes her brother Brody down to the water’s edge

Born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia – a term for unpredictable muscle movements – Brody has experienced [...]

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