Cape Town Duo Set to Make Waves in World Championships in the USA

Two remarkable disabled women from Cape Town are gearing up for an extraordinary journey that will take them from Mother City to Huntington Beach, USA, where they will compete in one of the world’s most prestigious surfing competitions. Noluthando Makalima, is 35 and has cerebral palsy, and Michele Macfarlane, 55, is visually impaired, are passionate surfers and dedicated single mothers living with disabilities. As NDIS providers on the Gold Coast, we will be here cheering them on.

Their unique friendship blossomed through their shared love for the sport, and they are now bursting with pride as they prepare to represent their country on the international stage.

Makalima expressed her excitement and the sense of responsibility to inspire her community, especially women and disabled individuals. She believes their journey will demonstrate that people with disabilities can achieve remarkable feats.

Macfarlane, on the other hand, is thrilled about the opportunity to connect with incredible people from around the world and share their inspirational stories. She sees the para-surfing community as a testament to the compassion and determination of individuals worldwide. She views international competitions as a platform to fulfil her role as a disability ambassador and raise public awareness.

Both women have dedicated themselves to rigorous training routines. Macfarlane practices surf-related exercises on a wobbleboard at home and focuses on daily pop-ups. At the same time, Makalima relies on the support of her “pusher” and “catcher” for assistance in the water. Together, they provide invaluable support to each other during their training and surfing sessions.

Despite facing significant physical and emotional challenges, this dynamic duo has conquered the waves and earned a coveted invitation to the World Adaptive Surfing Championship in November, where they will embody the spirit of resilience and determination.

Their journey to this prestigious competition is not new. Makalima previously won a silver medal at the World ParaSurfing in 2020, and Macfarlane secured a bronze medal at the English Open in the UK last year. This year’s selection process was even tougher, making their achievement all the more meaningful.

The competition is set to take place from November 4th to 11th at the iconic Huntington Beach. One of the unique challenges for them is to quickly navigate their way to the beach, with Macfarlane acting as Makalima’s guide and shouting directional cues.

Travelling as disabled individuals away from familiar surroundings has been mentally and physically exhausting, but they draw strength from each other’s support and motivation.

Their coaches express immense pride in their accomplishments, with coach Ant Smyth believing that Makalima has the talent and determination to become one of the world’s best prone-assisted surfers.

Coach Tasha Mentasti emphasizes how both women have defied the odds in pursuing the challenging sport of surfing and see their selection as representatives of South Africa as a testament to their tenacity.

The journey to the World Champs involved significant expenses, including travel, accommodation, equipment, and coaching, and the duo is grateful for the financial assistance they received from the community.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is excited to announce the return of the ISA World Para Surfing Championship, which aims to promote gender equity in surfing further and work towards the inclusion of Para Surfing in the 2028 Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.

Makalima and Macfarlane will depart for the competition next month, ready to take on the world and inspire others with their indomitable spirit and passion for surfing.

Good luck, ladies!

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