The Hobart

Local People: Shaned Gaffney

by Stephanie Williams
Local People: Shaned Gaffney

As the president of Disabled Surfers Association Australia Tasmania branch, Shaned loves helping everyone get out to enjoy the ocean.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? Not sure I have done the growing up bit yet! I spent my childhood in Sandy Bay, headed off to Ballarat for Uni, spent a few years in Sydney and Melbourne and a few years in HCMC Vietnam. I’ve lived in the coastal paradise of Dodges Ferry for the last 18 years.

Tell us a little about your work. I am the President and Co-founder of a charity called Disabled Surfers Association Australia Tasmania (DSAT). My day job is Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing Senior Advisor at WorkSafe Tas and I hold degrees in Exercise Physiology and Medical Science.

How did you get into this, and what does it involve? A friend of mine, Ian Brettingham-Moore, and I were having a chat and he told me about what the national DSA group were doing. One chat lead to another and before we knew it we had over 100 people volunteering at Clifton Beach in 2021 to help 25 surfers (participants) of all abilities have fun in the waves. DSAT provides a safe, fun and inclusive surfing experience for people of all abilities and all ages. Our mission is to ‘put smiles on dials’ one wave at a time.

What sort of benefits do participants experience? Surfers, volunteers, carers and families experience a day of fun, community, joy, connection and happiness. Everyone is part of a very unique experience where we get to share the sheer joy on our surfers faces when they do something they may never have thought they could do, such as feel the absolute buzz and freedom associated with catching a wave.

You have an event at Carlton Beach on Sunday 24 March. How can people get involved? We need a lot of volunteers on land and in the water to run our events so if you love the ocean and love supporting people to have fun in the water, you can register to help. We are fully booked for surfers and currently have 42 very keen people ready to ‘feel the stoke’ of getting a wave. There is a wait list so get in touch!

What do you love doing outside of work? I love ocean swimming with the local Dodgey Dippaz group, exercising in the gym and outdoors with friends, cycling, walking, stand up paddle boarding, and have recently started to love playing golf. Oh and my greatest loves include food, celebrating, dancing, music and hanging out with loved ones.

Who do you admire? I admire people who create a ripple effect of kindness and joy in theirs and other people’s lives and who encourage people to get out of their comfort zones and live, laugh and love fully. Through my involvement with the Australia wide DSA family I have met many of these kinds of people. I thank them for their enthusiasm, their big hearts and their ongoing belief that what we do matters.

Participants and volunteers

Favourite podcast or TV show? The Imperfects and Backroads.

Secret vice? Love a chilled Tasmanian pinot gris…not so secret though.

What are you reading now? Winter Swimming by Dr Susanna Soberg.

What was your first job? Waitressing for my Dad and his fabulous friend Tom Samek…wow they created some wild and wonderful dining experiences.

What are your daily news/social media habits? Trying to cut back on my daily dose. Stay up to date with what our group is doing via the DSAT Facebook page @dsa.tassie and on Instagram @dsa_tas.

Your favourite place for…

Breakfast: Home after an ocean swim.

Lunch: Park Café or Beach Bums in Dodges Ferry.

Dinner: Home eating anything cooked by my delicious husband Rick.

Favourite team? Go Tiges!!

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April 2024

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