Surfing has brought joy to Connor Duncan-Caley’s life. For the last five years, the 14-year-old has attended the annual SURFable event at Christchurch’s Scarborough Beach.
The Sumner Longboarders Surf Club started the free event a decade ago to give those with physical, sensory, developmental, or behavioural impairments the chance to ride a wave.
Connor was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour in 2017 and still struggles to walk and talk.
“Being out on the board gives me lots of joy – miles of smiles! SURFable gives me the opportunity to do something I can’t normally do and I love it,” he told 1News.
Longboarder Pete Mannix said the joy that’s generated is heart-warming, and being a part of it for all involved is very special.
“Many have never had the opportunity to experience being in the ocean before.
“It is a huge event for the surfers, their families, and the army of volunteers who give up their day,” Mannix said.
Connor’s mother Karen Duncan-Caley said her son would never have had the opportunity to surf otherwise.
“The first year we brought him out he had to lie flat on the board because he couldn’t get up… we’ve got from that to kneeling on his board last year to him standing.”
She said her heart was singing watching her son achieve.
“I don’t think he realises how much he strives but he just keeps going. He is just an amazing cool kid.”