Menu Sailing & Surfing - Disability Info SA

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Disabled Sailing & Surfing are both water sports that that have been adapted from their original sports & are open to athletes with a wide variety of types & degrees of disabilities. Athletes receive classifications, so that they can be grouped for competition purposes according to their impairment. Both sports are enjoyed at social, club & Provincial level, as well as at International level. Both these sports can be participated in on equal terms.


Disabled Sailing takes many forms, if you want to race, cruise or simply potter around in all kinds of boats, on the sea or inland water. It is one of the few sports in which able-bodied sailors and disabled sailors with degrees of disabilities can participate on equal terms.

The Para World Sailing Committee is responsible for sailing for people with disabilities worldwide. The committee are responsible for the Paralympics Sailing Program including Events and Equipment selection. They promote, assess and support program's for disabled sailing run by their Member National Authorities (MNAs). The committee promotes all types of sailing for people with all types and degrees of disability. It is practiced by athletes in more than 70 countries worldwide & is open to athletes with any type of physical impairment.

The classification system is based on four factors:

  • stability,
  • hand function
  • mobility

Athletes compete in three events, which are non-gender specified:

  • single-person keelboats
  • three-person keelboats
  • two-person keelboats.

The values of the committee are equity, opportunity to excel and empowerment for sailors with disabilities.

Those interested in taking part in the disabled sailing programme can contact Gray on:


Sailing was introduced at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games as a demonstrative sport and then became a medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. At the London 2012 Games, 80 athletes competed in three medal events.
SA Sailing and then the international sailing federation – the We are merely working towards including them in something that any person could choose to do. Sailing is an activity that we can all take part in and really enjoy.


Having a disability doesn’t mean that surfing is out of reach. Surfing for the disabled, known as "Adapted surfing" was introduced to the disabled in December 2011. Surfers with different disabilities, ranging from high spinal cord injuries and amputees to intellectual disabilities and blindness, can participate.

Adapted surfing was introduced to the disabled community of the Western Cape when the first ever Adapted Surfing event, hosted by Extreme Abilities and Surfing South Africa at Big Bay, was held at Big Bay Bloubergstrand in December 2011.

The first event hosted 15 disabled individuals and every year the event grew in size to a point where more than 70 disabled individuals are hosted at each event. A number of these events have taken place since then, where participants with different disabilities, ranging from high spinal cord injuries and amputees to intellectual disabilities and blindness are able to participate in these events. Visit Extreme Abilities to view the events they they have hosted since the inception of Adaptive Surfing in South Africa as well as other adaptive surf events organised by other like minded groups. At the moment Adaptive Surfing is in a fast paced developing stage on an international scale with the first ever World Adaptive Surfing Championships that was hosted in 2015 with 17 countries represented.

The aim is to give opportunities to individuals who live with disabilities to explore their own capabilities and experience the freedom of riding a wave. This would not be possible without the many volunteers who assist the participants get down to the water’s edge and onto the waves.

If you are a South African resident with a disability and you surf or have surfed before your disability, please contact them for more information on adaptive surf clubs in South Africa and they will put you in contact with an adaptive surf club near you. If there is no club near you and you are as passionate about surfing, they will help you start your own club.


Sports Clubs & Organizations
Silver Level Membership