Surfboard glasser and all-round top guy Ian Smith (dad to Chris, Matt, Tanny and Lew) is still wheelchair bound after suffering a stroke last year while surfing out at Billinga on the Gold Coast. Luckily he managed to make it to shore where he was found by two passersby who raised the alarm. For those who know how deserted Bilinga can get, this was beyond fortunate. However Ian suffered a second stroke while in hospital, and was left unable to walk and struggles with speech and co-ordination.
It's meant a massive adjustment. Until that point Ian's life was heavily focused on surfing and glassing boards - there are probably very few surfers in the Byron/Tweed/Gold Coast region who haven't ridden a board glassed by Ian at some stage.
From humble beginnings working under legendary Joe Larkin in Newcastle, Ian went on to work with several other of Australia's most respected board makers; Bob McTavish, San Juan, and Warren Cornish right through to DHD, JS and many more. Ian also made his own fins at one stage, and had opened one of the first surf shops in Byron Bay, East Cape, about 35 years ago. Ian had just come home from a trip getting barreled in the Maldives, and was working at Base just months before his stroke.
It was a huge shock; one minute Ian was happy & healthy & surfing, the next he's wheelchair bound and in full time care. We're aiming to raise enough money to buy Ian a beach wheelchair so he can gain access the beach again. They're around $5000. If we raise anything over that, it will go towards making things a little easier for him- helping out with things like carers or kitting the car out to put a wheelchair in it. Let's get Ian mobile and back down to the beach he loves so much.
The newly-renovated lounge at the Sands Hotel in Coolangatta is the venue, Wed 29th Feb from 6.30-9-30 pm. There will be a charity auction/surf movies/live music and good times. Music by Dan Hannaford and The Core Vets, films by Sahgga Saffigna, MC Andy Mac, with auction items including spec boards by Bob McTavish and John Harris, artwork from Ozzie Wright, Jens Brymer, photographic prints by Ted Grambeau and Scott Needham plus much more!
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