Category Archives: Sport

Surf Therapy

Adapted Surfboard for disabiity

Image: Surfability

Surf’s Up!

An exciting new development in surf technology is making headway for wheelchair users to experience the waves first hand.

Cerebra Innovation Centre,  in partnership with Surfability UK and Tonic Surf Therapy, have begun designing bespoke surf boards for people with limited mobility and neurological difficulties, allowing wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water.

Kai Lewis is a thirteen year old boy from Port Talbot, who suffered a stroke at age one and consequently lives with cerebral palsy.  He helped to test out the new products recently out on the water at Llangennith Beach in West Wales. Onlookers watched as Kai surfed his first wave, with a little help from his tandem surfer, a trained surf instructor riding on the back of his board. The board is a pioneer surf product, with a supportive “bucket” seat and space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. Kai had a very successful day out on the water, catching waves with a huge grin on his face and his mother looking on proudly.

Adapted surfboard

Image: Surfability

Surfability UK (surfing for disabled children) and Tonic Surf Therapy (working with surf and ocean therapy programmes in the UK and the USA) have teamed up with Cerebra Innovation Clinic to develop this product. Surfability UK was founded in 2013, as a response to increasing demand for inclusive surfing lessons that would allow people living with disabilities to experience the surf first hand. They design specific surf lessons and experiences for groups and individuals based on their needs, in a safe and supportive environment. Amongst their equipment are Tandem Surfboards, Surfing Helmets, Buoyancy Aids and Beach Access Wheelchairs. They also use innovative communication with IPad software to ensure clear communication and instruction between teacher and student.

They aren’t the first to make progress in making surf more accessible to wheelchair users, but they are the first to create individualised products for specific conditions.  Ross Head, CIC Product Design Manager, says that “since its inception, CIC has made a tremendous difference to the lives of many children with neurological conditions across the UK. The unique strategic vision for CIC means that we are able to respond to individual requests for help and can make small numbers of bespoke products that focus heavily on individual requirements and inclusion into society.”

Overall, the day was a great success, supported by top weather conditions and a supportive team by Kai’s side. His mother,  Leanne Lewis, expressed her pride, saying “hopefully it’s going to get more children out of their wheelchairs… The more you can get them out the better.” Most exciting is what these continuing innovations in surf and mobility technology represent for the future, for wheelchair users, and for surf lovers alike. If you’re a surfer, or you simply love the water, you’ll know the thrill of the wave, and the residual calm, and how the water becomes like a meditation when you immerse yourself in it. Everyone deserves to experience that feeling, and now they can, thanks to CIC, Surfability UK and Tonic Surf Therapy.

For more information on innovative surf technology and therapy, take a look at the following:
Surfability UK:
Tonic Surf Therapy:

Author credit:  Rosie Moreton for

Product News – The Bradley Timepiece

Bradley Timepiece Beige 3

The Bradley Classic Timepiece

It is always a real pleasure to come across a product that is a great example of the principals of universal design such as The Bradley watch.  The Bradley, originally designed for Bradley Snyder, a US soldier who lost his sight in Afghanistan, also attracts a lot of interest from non-visually impaired people who love the stylish design.

Available HERE on our website.

Designed by Eone Time -Designed For Everyone  , The Bradley is a tactile watch with a retro style face that allows you to tell the time by sight and feel by using the raised markers that determine the hours, whilst two rotating ball bearings track the hours and the minutes.  It enables sighted users to tell the time discreetly, which can be incredibly useful for business meetings, social occasions or when you are in a dark theatre or cinema.

Eone Bradley watchThe Bradley’s namesake, Bradley Snyder is an ex US Naval Officer who lost his eyesight in a bomb explosion in 2011.  Bradley went on to compete in the London Paralympic Games and won Gold and Silver Medals in swimming. Along with other visually impaired users, Bradley supported Eone with invaluable feedback through the development stages of the timepiece.

The concept timepiece was put up for crowd funding and received almost $600,000 The Bradley has since been nominated for the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award 2014; testament to its unique design and appeal.

The timepiece is a real fashion statement and can be a great talking point as it has such a unique look. These days, everyone has the time at the touch of a button, whether it is on your phone or iPad, but somehow digital will never be quite as sexy as the real thing. You may need to learn how to use The Bradley, which comes with a presentation box embossed with Braille which identifies the content and a user guide with both print and Braille.

Reviews of The Bradley Timepiece are available here:

More information on The Bradley timepiece can be found HERE on our website.

Keeping Fit From A Wheelchair

Happy Legs circulation booster

Happy Legs Exercise Machine

Keeping fit or undertaking regular exercise from a wheelchair can be a real challenge. For starters, you’re sitting down and relatively immobile compared to an able bodied person, who may take several thousand steps a day just doing basic tasks. Secondly any physical activity is restricted to the upper part of your body – which can lead to stress and injury in the part of your body you are now most dependent on.

But being completely inactive is not an option if you want to maintain a healthy weight and keep your all-important organs such as heart lungs and liver functioning well. Muscle condition and strength is also important – and your best defence against injury.

How much exercise do I need?

The NHS recommends the following levels of activity:

“Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-level aerobic activity a week, and muscle-strengthening activity on two or more days a week.

  • swimming

  • wheelchair sprinting, in a studio or at a track

  • using a rowing machine adapted for wheelchair use

  • wheelchair sports, such as basketball, netball and badminton”

What is the right type of exercise for someone in a wheelchair?

Philip Gill is a specialist tutor at YMCAfit, an organisation that trains fitness professionals to work with disabled people. Philip has good advice for the most helpful exercise to do if you are in a wheelchair:

“The repeated pushing motion that is used to push a wheelchair means that the chest and shoulder muscles can become tight and prone to injury. Meanwhile the back muscles, which are not involved in this pushing motion, can become weaker, because they are never worked.

“Because of this, it’s a good idea to focus on exercises that work the smaller muscles that support the pushing motion, such as the shoulder muscles: this can help prevent injury. You can also strengthen the back muscles by doing exercises that involve a pulling motion.”

Where can I go to get help with this?

It’s well worth talking to your local gym to see if they have equipment and trainers for disabled people. Your local Council owned recreation centre is required by law to provide access for disabled people, and may have classes suitable for people with limited mobility.

What about my weight?

Weight gain can be a real concern, and as well as fighting this with exercise a healthy diet will help. Emotional eating, boredom and one too many glasses of wine will all add to the pounds, and make it harder to stay in shape. Talking to a nutritionist is a good start. Some wheelchair users find their injury or disability also affects their digestion so getting the right diet will help with your quality of life in more ways than one. Minimise alcohol, sugar, processed foods and saturated fats, eat lots of fruit, vegetables and fibre to give your digestive system a boost. Focus on foods that enhance your life rather than foods that give a short term boost but will cause problems long term. This is a great way to take some control of your health.

Diet and exercise are your tools to help minimize weight gain and maximize your cardiovascular health. Aerobic exercise will keep your organs in good condition and maintain a healthy circulation. Diabetes, blood clots, and lower body circular problems can all result from a sluggish cardiovascular system. A healthy body will also help with a healthy mind. The boost you get from the release of endorphins – a result of aerobic exercise – will lift your mood and help keep the blues away.

I’m already busy! How do I fit this in to my life?

The secret to a healthy lifestyle is to develop habits – start small at first, work things in to your day, and build on your successes. Don’t expect to go all out from the start, but work your way up, set goals and give yourself rewards when you achieve your goals.

Make exercise a social occasion – make new friends at a class, drag a friend along for a session on a track or at a gym. And encourage others – there are plenty of people just like you who are too shy or scared to try. You can be their inspiration if you give it a go.

For further ideas and inspiration visit

Yoga can change your life

As our bodies age we need to work harder to keep supple and mobile. Health becomes a far more valuable asset the older you get. Good mobility enables social engagement, fun and adventure, things that are hard to do if you can’t move around easily. Never forget that once you are past child bearing/rearing age, mother nature is not really your friend – she’s trying to get rid of you to make room for the next generation. Yoga might just give you the edge!

Regular yoga practice is a gentle way into exercise with excellent benefits, even if you don’t start until you retire. Just getting out of the house and into a village hall with a few other people of your own age and gently stretching will give you social and health benefits far beyond being able to bend over and tie your shoe laces. You’ll get increased muscle tone, better balance, stronger limbs and improved mobility. And maybe a few new friends, some laughs and fun along the way.

Regular exercise reduces death  and disease rates for all ages. Yoga is low impact, and can help you gain or maintain mobility to help you continue with other activities such as biking and walking longer than you would otherwise be able to.

Have a look at this article on yoga for seniors to understand the different types of yoga and decide which would be most suitable for you

Read this article in the Huffington Post on the benefits of yoga for the over 50s

And be inspired by this article in the Telegraph about seniors who have benefited from taking up yoga late in life.