The Freedom It Gives Me

Removing the barriers to access so everyone can benefit from the transformative power of the ocean.

Feature type Video

Read time 4 min read

Published Nov 24, 2021

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

For Andrew Birkett spending time in the ocean is far more than racing across the surface, exploring beneath the surface or riding waves.

“I don’t really call myself a surfer, by any stretch but I just enjoy all the things that are to do with being in the sea and of the freedom it gives me,” he says. “In this environment where you’re suddenly not weight-bearing gives me a freedom that I enjoy but I don’t always get.”

Barriers to accessibility present themselves in myriad ways. Due to restrictions in his movement caused by cerebral palsy, traditional wetsuit design and was curbing his love of spending time in the sea. “Probably about five years ago I was trying to have a bit more of an active life in the water but struggled getting in and out of wetsuits. I mean I don’t think anyone finds them a party to get in an out of but for me it was maybe a bit more of a struggle than for some,” says Andrew.

His wife contacted local wetsuit manufacturers Finisterre for some advice. The request sparked a discussion and the discussion led to the inception of The Wetsuit Project, one of the inaugural projects for The Finisterre Foundation, designed to remove the barriers of access so everyone can benefit from the transformative power of the ocean. The Wetsuit Project, will fund alterations to wetsuits to improve accessibility to the ocean.

“Making Andrew’s film it really dawned on me how, for so many people, wetsuits are a barrier to getting in the sea,” explains Finisterre founder and director of Finisterre Foundation Tom Kay. “So, I’m incredibly proud to be doing something about this by supporting the Finisterre Foundation Wetsuit Project this Blue Friday; funding the adaption of any wetsuit in the hope of making a big and immediate difference to people’s ability to get in the sea. I cannot wait to see how it goes, and who knows, maybe the industry will take notice and do something too…”

To accelerate the positive impact the foundation is confident in achieving, this November, Finisterre will be donating £2.50 of every order placed over the Black Friday Weekend (26th-29th) instead of offering discounts. These restricted funds pledged towards one of the Foundation’s inaugural projects, The Wetsuit Project, that will fund alterations to wetsuits to improve accessibility to the ocean.

To find out more about the foundation, donate funds and apply for grants and kit donations, visit: The Finisterre Foundation

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