There were lots of smiles at a one-day adaptive waterskiing clinic in central Alberta this week.
Nicholas Gates has cerebral palsy. His mother, Kelly Gates, said the past two and a half years have been difficult for her son, who has had limited outdoor interactions and activities due to the pandemic.
“We’ve been stuck in the house for two years, him in particular being in a group home, and now we want to bring him back into the community and get him out to have fun.”
So when she heard about Water Ski and Wake Alberta’s “Give it a Go” day, she jumped at the chance.
“It’s not just the confidence they’re gaining, but it’s a whole new way of life. They meet everyone and try something new,” Gates said.
The one-day clinic introduces people with disabilities to adapted water skiing. Gates said it was hard to describe the emotions she felt when she saw her son slipping through the water.
“I just felt thrilled. It’s comforting,” Gates said.
“For him, it’s an experience he’ll talk about all his life.”
Clinic coordinator Rae-Lee Colcleugh said she was inspired to start the “Try It” day after working with the National Adaptive Water Skiing Team.
“It’s basically us sharing our passion for waterskiing with people who otherwise couldn’t,” Colcleugh said.
Joshua Corcoran attended the clinic, but it wasn’t his first time on the water. He’s been to countless adaptive water ski clinics and said he couldn’t get enough.
“Being able to jump in the water like that and have fun skiing with great people is always something I look forward to every time I come to one of these clinics,” Corcoran said.
Clinic coach Sean Asam and his son Nick Asam, who has cerebral palsy, have been waterskiing together for 18 years. He said adaptive waterskiing gave his son confidence growing up, something he wants to share with others.
“I think what that also does for a lot of people is the next sport they do after waterskiing, maybe not waterskiing, but all of a sudden they start trying other things. things, and that’s what I like to see. ”
Sean said it was exciting for the skiers, but also extremely emotional for their families.
“We see a lot of parents change because of this, and it’s really great to see,” Sean said.
For more information on future adapted water ski clinics, visit the organization’s website.