Cerebra Innovation Centre Surfboard goes global


09.11.2018

A surfboard designed by a team from Swansea that enables disabled children to experience the thrill of the ocean, is making waves on the other side of the world - in Japan.

Cartan McLaughlin

The Cerebra Innovation Centre – a partnership between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and the charity, Cerebra - designed the surfboard for children with limited mobility and brain conditions. It allows wheelchair-bound adrenaline junkies to get out of their chairs and onto the water. The tandem design includes a supportive seat for the child and plenty of space on the back for an experienced surfer to steer it in the right direction. They have been a great success providing endless hours of fun to thrill-seeking children who could not otherwise experience the benefits and thrill of catching waves.

Following its successful launch in 2016 the board has been popular across the UK, and now, the world. Cartan McLaughlin, an Irishman living in Japan, bought a Cerebra Surfboard for his own organisation called Sean’s Club. Sean, Cartan’s son, is 10 years old and has Down’s Syndrome and Sean’s Club is dedicated to helping children with Down Syndrome reach their full potential.

They have just held a launch event on Tatadohama Beach in Shimoda, Japan which was a huge success. Cartan McLaughlin said: “It was amazing! A brilliant day. Can I get another board? Many Thanks to the Cerebra Team and especially to Dr. Ross Head – Associate Professor at UWTSD”.

Dr Ross Head explains that the surfboard is essentially a very large, purpose designed and built board, 12ft long, 30 inches wide and 6 inches deep. This gives it the floatation and stability required for the bucket seat to be positioned on top. The seat is attached via an adjustable laser-cut aluminium wedge which allows the seat to be positioned and angled correctly. This can be altered on the beach between users; the heavier the user, the further back the seat can slide to enable the board to glide smoothly at the correct angle.

Cartan McLaughlin

To date there are Cerebra Surfboards in Aberavon and Caswell in south Wales; in Cornwall, and the Isle of Wight with The Wave Project; one in Larne in Northern Ireland, and now one in Japan. Cartan plans to add another two boards this year, and five in 2019.

Dr Head commented:  “We are so happy and so proud that our surfboard has brought happiness to another bunch of children and to be so far away on such a beautiful sandy beach in Japan adds a magical element to the story. The surfboards are a real work of art and very time consuming to build by the whole team, including Roger Cooper who shapes the board itself. Cartan has already asked if he can order another!”

The surfboard was created in partnership between the Cerebra Innovation Centre and Roger Cooper.  The Innovation Centre is a partnership project with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is based the University’s ALEX Design Exchange in Swansea.

Cerebra is a charity helping families who have a child with a brain condition to discover a better life together. The team at the Cerebra Innovation Centre are dedicated to designing and making bespoke products that enrich a child’s life, giving them new experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk