Hitting the Waves in a Beach Wheelchair

/ Accessible, Beach, British Columbia, Inclusive, Vancouver, Wheelchair

Hitting the Waves in a Beach Wheelchair

Our Tabassum on the Go!

The only thing between me and the water was a funny plastic contraption.

This past August, I participated in Spinal Cord Injury BC’s Multi Sports Day at Locarno Beach in Vancouver. I had been to the annual event, which gets people with SCI and related disabilities trying out a variety of sports, before. But this year, I made it into a real Beach Wheelchair day.

Not only did I brave the sand, but the highlight of my day was actually going into the water in a beach chair! I remembered how much fun it had been to be in water when I was in Cuba, at a resort in Cayo Santa Maria. With the help of a lifeguard at the resort, I was actually able to sit on the sand with water up to my waist. And I was familiar with using a beach wheelchair, as I had used one at Galveston, Texas for my nephew’s beach wedding.

The Beach Wheelchair is free to rent — but requires a little bit of assistance.The Beach Wheelchair is free to rent — but requires a little bit of assistance

I didn’t care about the each chair’s bulky look, or that I needed the help of someone else to use it. (Though I did wonder how my petite-looking volunteer was going to control my chair…) I hoped I wouldn’t get into trouble, as there was no belt to secure me to the chair; I was not wearing a life vest either.

Still, I was excited about actually going in the water. Moving over the sand and into the ocean was a little unnerving at first. The waves were quite high and strong, and the wind was rough. But I knew that I was in good hands, and felt safe.

A beach wheelchair is an excellent way to fully enjoy all the joy that comes with a trip to the beach! Here Tab gets a chance to ride the waves!Trying out the Beach Wheelchair at Jericho Beach with a volunteer

The Vancouver Park Board currently has two beach wheelchairs — one at Jericho Beach and another at English Bay Beach — and nine new chairs across other city beaches in the coming year. The chairs require someone to push them, but can be rented out free of charge from the lifeguard stations. Learn more about beach wheelchairs and the newly-installed Mobi-Mat at the City of Vancouver website.

Soon, I was having the ride of my life. It felt like a roller coaster ride, with the beach chair moving up and down, forward and backward with the rise and fall of waves. It was soothing and relaxing, exciting and exhilarating all at the same time. I felt triumphant at pushing my limits, and everyone around me seemed excited too.

“My advice to others wanting to try the chair? Enjoy and have fun as you live only once; be grateful and make the most of each moment that you heart is beating.”

By the time we came back, I was soaked up to my waist with loads of sand on my arms and legs. But it was all worth it. I had felt like a free bird, ready to soar high and touch the sky above. The excitement and exhilaration created a HIGH that could not be compare to any addiction.

Not surprisingly, I would definitely take the beach chair out again. Next time, I would like to wear a life jacket and use a proper belt to fasten me secure to the chair so that I am not afraid to be pulled away by strong waves. If I’m fastened with a seat belt, the light weight of the beach chair would make it buoyant and perhaps let it float…

As if this ride of my life wasn’t enough of a treat, I came back to shore to a bowl of Frozen Coconut Maple Ice Cream with homemade caramel topping and almonds. It felt like a well-deserved prize for being such a daredevil…

Adventures for All!

Call 1-888-993-9295 to book today!

Share this Post