Surfer en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers with hear­ing im­pair­ments

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Ford [email protected]­

THERE is no place Kathryn Hughes is hap­pier than on a wave.

“When I’m out there I can shut off from ev­ery­thing and it’s the most re­lax­ing thing be­ing in my own world,” she said.

“It gives me com­plete free­dom, it’s some­thing I do every day, it’s what I love do­ing and I get to go to new places and meet new peo­ple.”

But there is more to the laid back 26-year-old than just surf­ing.

Kathryn was born with a hear­ing im­pair­ment and said grow­ing up she had to over­come many strug­gles.

“My left hear­ing doesn’t work at all and in my right I have low per­cent­age but with a hear­ing aid in a higher per­cent­age,” she said.

“When I was younger I started go­ing to Aus­tralian Hear­ing at Cot­ton Tree and they were my speech ther­apy and my hear­ing ther­apy, they helped me through from day one when I was lit­tle to now at 26.”

Ever de­ter­mined, Kathryn hasn’t let any chal­lenges stop her from do­ing what she loves and is now a reg­u­lar com­peti­tor on the World Surf League Women’s Long­board Tour.

“I’ve re­cently been to Amer­ica and Tai­wan to com­pete and placed 13th and 7th at WSL long­board

comps,” she said.

“When I’m out surf­ing or at com­pe­ti­tions it kind of comes as a shock to peo­ple that I’m deaf be­cause I speak re­ally well and they can’t see my hear­ing aid.

“They also think my bal­ance would be thrown off by my hear­ing and I’d never even thought of that be­cause it’s how it’s al­ways been for me so I’ve just learnt in my own way.”

This Satur­day is World Hear­ing Day, the cul­mi­na­tion of Hear­ing Aware­ness Week, and Kathryn hopes any young peo­ple go­ing through sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences will be in­spired by her.

“I’ve had so many peo­ple say to me it’s a gift cause I can in­spire other kids to push for­ward in­stead of hold­ing back which is the best way to look at it,” she said.

“In the be­gin­ning I never went out of my way to in­spire peo­ple but it’s just hap­pened as a re­sult of hav­ing my hear­ing is­sues and just the way I live life.

“Ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent dif­fi­cul­ties in their jour­ney and I know some­times I have had mo­ments but you’ve just got to re­alise that it’s what you’ve got.

“I’ve never let be­ing deaf stop me from do­ing things I love and I re­ally hope other peo­ple can look to peo­ple like me and re­alise they can do great things as well.”

❝many I’ve had so peo­ple say to me it’s a gift ’cause I can in­spire other kids to push for­ward in­stead of hold­ing back... — Kathryn Hughes


IN­SPI­RA­TION: Kathryn Hughes has never let hav­ing a hear­ing im­pair­ment stop her from chas­ing her dreams of be­ing a pro­fes­sional surfer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.