NB. Accurate transcripts take time/money beyond my current funds. I am slowing working through, but in the meantime this transcript has been automatically transcribed. Unfortunately there are (quite a few) errors in it, making it difficult to read in places.
If you would like an accurate transcript, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide one asap (no cost to you).
FRANKIE: This is Frankie York and you’re listening to Seize Your Adventure. Those of you who have been keeping up to date with our social media will know who I am, but for those that don’t I’m Frankie, Fran’s intern. I’ve been doing a few bits here and there behind the scenes but I’m honoured to announce that today Fran is entrusting me with the microphone. I want to share a little bit of my own story but I’ve enlisted the help of some very special people to offer their insight into how epilepsy, other seizure conditions or any additional needs impact other members of the adventure community. As our title suggests we’re going to be talking about surfing, seizures and safety, also support but it didn’t sound as catchy in the title. Each of my guests has had an invaluable contribution not only to this episode but to my overall experience when balancing my condition and my passion for surfing. Jessie and Zim are both close friends of mine and we’ll talk a little bit about the degree of responsibility the people around us have for our own safety and how it can impact friendships
*insert Jessie and Zim saying hi*
Jessie was also the former Vice President at our University surf society so we’re also talking about responsibility in a more formal organisational manner and what goes into surf trip planning; I also have Simon with me who very kindly agreed to come on the podcast. *insert Simon saying hello* I met Simon in the place in Wales where I go with my friends and family as we use his business and surf school AberAdventures to hire surf material. -You can see more about what I get up to there over on the Seize Your Adventure Instagram - Simon is going to talk to me more about his experiences of water safety in a professional capacity and discuss the accessibility of learning to surf when you have additional needs or safety concerns - such as someone who is at risk of having a seizure. For me surfing is more than a sport, it’s a passion, an addiction and when I asked my wonderful guests they had similar things to say
*insert what surfing means to you question*.
FRANKIE (in studio): Unlike Jared who featured on Episode 4 of this season I didn’t have a great deal of surfing experience before I started having seizures. I had had one surf lesson in Cornwall when I was around 9 and immediately fell in love with it. So much so that I begged my dad to help me use my pocket money to buy foam board for our holidays to Wales, being the best dad in the world he agreed, but regrettably that board was seldom used over the next decade. I have a terrible habit of rambling so let me give you some context and then we’ll hear more from my wonderful guests. Epilepsy runs in my family so when I had my first seizure I wasn’t in the least bit surprised, confused, or afraid, but I was absolutely devastated. The way I saw it, the seizures I was experiencing threatened everything my life had been building up to at that point. I was 16 so just beginning to gain my independence, discovering boys and alcohol, desperate to learn to drive and considering what I might want to do with my future. Emotions run high when you’re 16 and adding frequent, debilitating seizures into the melting pot really knocked my confidence. In my case at least frequency of seizures is directly related to stress levels so by the time I’d finished my A levels I decided for the benefit of my health I should take some time off. Hesitantly my parents let me go off travelling in South America, I lived in Chile for around 9 months teaching English and then I went on my first big adventure, miraculously only suffering two seizures in the whole year. I was in Ecuador when I made a friend who asked if I wanted to go surfing with him. When I said yes I hadn’t thought twice about my seizures, and luckily that hazard was never realised but in hindsight I should’ve taken more care. From that day my passion for surfing was reignited. When I came home to start my degree at the University of Manchester, joining the surf society seemed like the obvious next step to cultivate my skills. Unfortunately my first term at University was accompanied with several academic and personal stresses, and therefore a huge spike in the amount of seizures I was having, all the confidence I had built up on my adventure dissipated at a dramatic rate and once again I was terrified to even leave my house, let alone go surfing and this broke my heart. I’m sure many of our listeners are well acquainted with the idea that having seizures can be a very traumatic, devastating, exhausting and isolating experience, in some cases even life-threatening so when you’re going through that it’s very easy to forget it also burdens those close to you. To this day I’ve never witnessed another person have a seizure and have no idea how I would react in the moment if it happened, but for my friends and family it was a regular occurrence. I digress. With the support of some incredible people, over time I was tentatively getting back into the water and now I can confidently surf anywhere in any weather and swell condition and trust that I know my body and limitations well enough to stay safe. Learning to surf really changed my life and the relationship I have with my condition, but it definitely isn’t without risk and I do have to say I’ve had a few very close calls which is why now I’m so passionate about promoting safe surfing. So without further ado, let’s get into my conversation with Simon to give us a crash course in beach safety protocol.
*run conversation with Simon up until inclusivity bit*
FRANKIE (in studio): It’s always good to know that local surf instructors and lifeguards are equipped with the knowledge to handle the situation if anything serious happened while a person like myself is surfing but lets bring it a little closer to home and we’re going to go to Jessie to talk about surfing with the university society.
*run convo with jessie up to the risk assessment forms part*
FRANKIE (in studio): So now I feel more informed on the matter of safety and risk but I want to go a little bit deeper again, and talk about responsibility and how taking all of these things into consideration can impact friendships so I asked Jessie and Zim about their experiences of surfing with me and this is what they had to say.
*Jessie and Zim on Surfing with me*
FRANKIE (in studio): There’s one person who was by my side for the whole of this journey yet when I asked them if they could share their experience they refused, citing firstly that they didn't want to rehash the trauma and secondly that they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves knowing they had encouraged someone with any kind of additional needs or safety requirements to take up surfing, which really got me thinking about accessibility in sport, and luckily I knew I could turn to Simon with all my questions.
*simon accessibility in sport*
FRANKIE (in studio): Creating this episode has given me a lot of food for thought and I’m very excited to see where I might be able to take these ideas in the future but for now I’m going to leave you with some concluding remarks from my wonderful guests when I asked the famous “what does adventure mean to you”?