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Australian takes gold at US Deaf Open of Surfing

Rhys Johnson (right) © International Deaf Surfriders Association



US Deaf Open of Surfing

International Deaf Surfriders Association
Huntington Beach California
20 - 22 June 2014

Rhys Johnson takes home gold in two divisions

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 June, 2014 - Many have heard of the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California but what some may not be aware of is that there is also an International Deaf Surfriders Association Event, the US Deaf Open of Surfing, at the same location.

Scarborough local Rhys Johnson (30) with the support from the Ear Science Institute Australia, Surfing WA, Cottesloe Longboarders and others got the opportunity to compete in California earlier in the week in a number of divisions of the US Deaf Open of Surfing, taking home gold in the U’35 Longboard and U’35 Shortboard divisions, making it to the semi-finals of the Open Shortboard division.
The event, which took place at Huntington Beach between 20th – 22nd June, was formed in 2001 to promote unity and interaction between deaf surf clubs and attracted competitors from all over the world, including: Brazil, Israel, England, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Basque, Uruguay and the USA.
Rhys Johnson’s motivation to compete in this event was to be able to tell his story and inspire others, with or without disability, to follow their dreams. “It was great to finally meet a group of deaf people who share my passion for surfing.  It has opened up a whole new world to me and I’m looking forward to the World Championships next year!
“I hope this adventure will inspire kids to get out there and have a go, whether in surfing or just life in general and most importantly to chase their dreams and never give up.”  Johnson said. The Ear Science Institute Australia, who raise awareness of hearing impairment management and prevention, were first connected to Rhys through CEO Brett Robertson who shares a passion for surfing and the ocean.
“Rhys' hearing impairment has resulted in a number of challenges for him.  Surfing was what got him through the challenges.”  Robertson said.
“With Rhys’ interest in what the Ear Science Institute does as well as his desire to become an ambassador for people with hearing impairments, there was a perfect opportunity to help support a young person achieve their goals, while encouraging those with hearing impairments to fully understand their condition and become aware of treatment options available.
“Through the support of Norm Bateman (Bateman Architects), Adam Richardson (Physical Solutions), David Malone (Healthway), Professor Lyn Beazley, Jake Paterson (Quiksilver, Dunsborough) and Surfing WA, the Ear Science Institute was able to help Rhys develop as a person, as well as raise funds to be able to travel to and compete in California.”
Rhys was introduced to the crew at Surfing WA last year, who helped him with coaching, competition strategy, competition experience and general support to help him achieve his goals.
Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane is rapt with Johnson’s results in the US and is glad the Organisation could help him reach his goals. “Surfing WA continues to help athletes across all codes on the international stage and to be able to help Rhys follow his dreams and tell his story has been fantastic.  We look forward to the positive impact he can have on our community.”
Johnson has been greatly appreciative of all the support he has received. “I would like to thank Mark Clift, his help and advice in the lead up to the event was greatly appreciated.  Also the support of the Ear Sciene Institute and the Cottesloe Longboard Club and last but not least, Surfing WA for their assistance and the opportunities they have given me, the support from them has been fantastic!”
US Deaf Open of Surfing 

Rhys Johnson, US Deaf Open of Surfing, International Deaf Surfriders Association

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