AN iconic sport and pastime for south-west coastal communities became an experience for all with a little help from volunteers.
Surfers in brightly coloured rash vests glided on rolling waves at a Warrnambool beach on Saturday morning during the first Disabled Surfing Association event of the summer.
Even the drizzling rain didn't keep the surfers and volunteers from the water.
As people caught their first wave and even rose to their feet, cheers sounded from dozens of volunteers and on-lookers near the surf lifesaving club.
Warrnambool Special Developmental School student Ashley Holmes, 14, has practiced his surfing for three years with the guidance of volunteers using soft-material surfboards and paddle boards.
Ashley said he'd improved each time.
"I tried to stand up," he said. "It was a good surf."
His mum Suzanne watched from the beach and said her son loved the freedom.
"He likes stuff that is fast, he has no fear of the water," Ms Holmes said.
DSA president Neil Kelly said about 35 people registered to surf.
"We can go surfing any day of the week if we want to, but these people can maybe only do it at this time of year," he said.
"People don't want to stop."
Mr Kelly was one of about 60 volunteers who assisted the surfers, and said he was "instantly hooked" when his passion for surfing led to him becoming a volunteer four years ago.
The former agriculture worker said he was now pursuing a career as a disability support worker in Terang, thanks to the volunteering.
"It's changed my whole life," Mr Kelly said.
The event is in its fifth season and will return on February 8 2020.
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