Sunshine, stand-up paddleboarding brightens Harmony week

Jack kneeling on a SUP board on the water, holding the paddle across his body, he is smiling

  • Stand-up paddleboarding event held in collaboration to celebrate Harmony week.
  • Event was a great success for inclusion for people living with disability.

On a sunny autumn Sunday, 19th March some first-time customers took to the waters of the Busselton foreshore on stand-up paddleboards (SUPs).

Located two hours from Perth in Western Australia’s picturesque southwest, the event was a collective effort to acknowledge and celebrate Harmony week (20 – 26 March).

APM Communities, the City of Busselton, the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia (DSA) and SUP Life Busselton came together for an all-inclusive tryout paddle boarding day.

The all-inclusive event attracted many locals, including people living with disability, to have a go at stand-up paddleboarding.

One attendee with quadriplegia was able to enjoy a supported float on a board thanks to a seating aid, describing their experience in the water as feeling “like true freedom.”

Attendees also enjoyed sand play and a sausage sizzle.

The March event was another successful trial event after the first event on 24th February.


Two members of APM Communities assist a young child to float along on a SUP board


APM Communities have been working with the City of Busselton as a NDIS Partner in the Community for a number of years to improve access and inclusion in their local area.

As part of its participation in the Building Inclusive Communities WA project, the council has also focused on building local capabilities to make the city more inclusive and welcoming.

The DSA and APM Communities have been working with SUP Life to build their capacity to provide all-inclusive paddle boarding opportunities for those living with a disability.


Jack kneeling on a SUP board, floating on the water, surrounded by three team membersPictured: Andy Pitt (left), Jack (centre).

"Inclusion for people with disability is not only of benefit to the general fabric of community - with one in five people living with a disability in Australia it also makes good business sense” APM Communities Local Area Coordinator Sarah Bowes said.

This event gave a much-desired recreational opportunity for people living with disability, which actively improves their quality of life and mental wellbeing.

Owner of SUP Life Busselton Andy Pitt shared his experience of capacity building.

“As a resident and surfer, I have had the great opportunity to give back to community through the Disabled Surfers Association over the summer.”

“Through Ant Purcell (DSA President) and others in that space, I have met some really amazing, courageous people who live with disability. Around them are committed families and passionate support workers."

Seeing and feeling the difference his business is making has had an incredibly positive effect on him.

“This is just one of many spaces in our community each of us could express love and service - disability inclusivity is a great place for us at SUP Life Busselton to start.”

After the success of this summer’s events, the teams are working to potentially plan more in the future.

APM Communities delivers NDIS Partners in the Community services in parts of Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.