South Coast Surf Therapy is a winning formula for Broulee's Gabbie Johnson
Gabbie Johnson is making major inroads into providing access to alternative Occupational Therapy programs and surfing opportunities on the South Coast.
Above: Gabbie making inroads into the therapies of surf Beach Break Occupational Therapy was founded by Gabbie Johnson; an occupational therapist and ocean lover. Gabbie grew up on the beaches of Cronulla before moving to the South Coast in 2018, where I commenced working as a paediatric OT with Coast and Country Occupational Therapy where she continues to provide intervention in a clinic, home and school-based environment as well as providing some support for adults. From her own surfing experience and through working as a Surf Coach at Broulee Surf School, she noticed the transformative benefits the ocean and surfing can have on young people’s lives. Gabbie told The Beagle "Our Broulee based practice was established to provide OT services through an adapted surfing program, as a way to facilitate therapy goals, by using an activity and an environment that is meaningful to our surfers and their families. "We recognise the therapeutic benefits of working in nature, as well as the integral need for everyone to have opportunity to participate in recreational activities that promote inclusion, social development and physical and mental well-being. "I have made it my mission to ensure everyone is able to enjoy surfing and the beach in a safe and supportive way, kicking some therapy goals in the process!
"Our surf sessions are located primarily at Broulee Beach. Whilst the main focus is surfing, therapy will also occur in still water (e.g. creek/river), in the waves or on the sand for other therapy-based activities. This is dependent on the individuals needs and goals. We are affiliated with Broulee Surf School, who provides us with equipment including wetsuits and surfboards. We also supply our students with rash vests, life jackets and other therapy equipment. Surf Therapy can be accessed through: Self-managed or plan-managed NDIS plans. You will require ‘Capacity Building’ funding to use your NDIS plan for Surf Therapy.
Medicare rebate (enhanced primary care plan, chronic disease management plan)
Above: Jess Hannan (left) enjoying a morning surf session with Lauchi and Gabbie Photos: Josh Burkinshaw