Disability Board Idea Advice

Hi everyone,

For my school project, I have decided to make a specially designed board for my disabled brother who suffers from hemiplegia. It would be greatly appreciated if you could fill my survey on how I should design the board as I want feedback from surfers so that I can make sure the board would be as effective as possible.



Hi and great idea for your brother. I had a quick look at the survey (which I will fill in) that is a very brief but practical questionaire. If you would like to share your design and concept ideas it will help others chime in, getting the best possible product for him…So a few questions which will help myself and maybe others -

How badly is you brother affected by the disability? Can he still grip/kick with his weaker side? or hold himself up on elbows?

What will you be making this from?..and the usual - His weight and surf conditions would help.

Thanks, Steve


I’m not much of a “survey” type person, but would be happy to participate in a conversation / discussion regarding his condition and the best board design to accomodate it.  I have osteoarthritis in both hips and spine (left hip has been surgically replaced with a prosthetic), and also BPPV a form of vertigo which can affect my balance at times.  As a result, I tend to design my boards to accomodate my condition, which in my case affects my pop-up, balance, and reflexes.  So I have to design boards that are more on the stable side at a little loss of say looseness, and easy paddlers at the cost of duckdive-ability.  

I have filled out your survey, but just saying, I think a lot more good can be accomplished by an actual conversation.

One of my comments on your survey was that a channel, similar to foot wells, for his unresponsive limbs, would be better than a strap or handle, because of the uncertainty of what can happen in a wipeout.

I also don’t think extra push in a takeoff is as critical as just being in the right position for the breaking wave.  If you’re in the right spot, it takes very little effort to drop in.  This is where having a partner or team out there with you can help - they can call you into waves, and block for you if need be.  So that you are able to place yourself in the optimal takeoff zone.

I have never seen your brother, or seen pictures of him, so I’m just speaking from what little you’ve told us.

Hi Smerk, 

My brother’s disability doesn’t affect his right side so it as just a strong as normal and his left leg is also strong enough to kick. Currently, he does go bodyboarding with me and he is able to catch most waves but requires a lot of effort from him and keeping his left arm in place is quite uncomfortable. I will most likely be making a polystyrene bodyboard and it will be used at our beach house. The waves there are not that big at all as it, not a “surf” but every now and then that can get quite big. He is around 50kg.

Random thoughts upon first reading this post

So is this going to be primarily prone, or can he possibly dropknee? Sounds like a modified kneeboard shape. I agree with creating an arm well for the non dominant arm. What about lining the arm well with cork? Or you could use some strong velcro in the well with the mate side sewn to a rash guard. Why not start some research on Bethany Hamilton’s boards; she can duck dive them one handed. Is he going to be pushed into waves or paddle? Flippers or no? Surf mat?