Jocelyn guides surf board

LEADER: Jocelyn Neumueller in action in the Prone 2 division at the ISA World Para Surfing Championship, which she won. Photo: International Surfing Association.

LEADER: Jocelyn Neumueller in action in the Prone 2 division at the ISA World Para Surfing Championship, which she won. Photo: International Surfing Association.

Former Victor Harbor woman Jocelyn Neumueller has joined the Surfing SA board to help build the state's para surfing program.

Neumueller only got back on the surf board for the first time since she was a kid just over 12 months ago.

But her freshness to the sport is not to be overlooked; last month, she won gold at the ISA World Para Surfing Championship.

She represented Australia in The Irukandjis team and competed in the Prone 2 division, which is for people who cannot get on the board or paddle independently.

Her team consists of Fleurieu men Matt Henwood, Vance Gordon, and Matt Walsh, who have helped her love the sport again and make it accessible.

She wants other disabled athletes to get into surfing and experience the thrill she feels when in the water.

"I can hop on the same wave as everyone else, I can go every direction - there's no limitations when I'm in the ocean," she told The Times.

"That sense of freedom and that sense of independence that I can get when I'm on a wave - I can't get that anywhere else."

Neumueller is not affiliated with a boardriders club but has instead joined the board of Surfing South Australia to boost participation and inclusivity.

She has sat on numerous boards already so she hopes to make a difference with her knowledge and experience.

"My mission is trying to rather than just being on a disability-based board, bring that inclusion aspect to a mainstream board and build inclusion in the sport," she said.

"Surfing SA already does so many great things and I think it's only going to improve into the future if we can work on that inclusion, which we're already making great steps forward."

She hopes to simultaneously build numbers in the sport and create para divisions throughout the state.

"I was involved in organising the para division at the Southern Surf Festival (in 2021). That was the first of any para division in any event in SA," she said.

"It's really tough because you need numbers for it to work.

"I guess if there's only one person it makes it really difficult - we saw it even if you look at how the scoring differed between divisions (at the Southern Surf Festival), it's so hard to judge capacity between people laying down and people standing.

"That's something that needs to be worked through, but we're working with Surfing SA to try and boost numbers and participation in para surfing so hopefully that can flow through to every level."

While there is no national para surfing circuit, there are the national championships, which she hopes to do well in and attend the 2022 world championships as a result.