Sale to the Sea – An Amputee Kayaking Challenge – The Beginning
Sale to Sea Founder, Andrew Bedggood
In 1983, at the age of 19, founder of the Sale to Sea Disability Kayak Challenge,
Andrew Bedggood, was involved in an accident on his way home from work where the vehicle he was travelling in ran out of fuel 5 minutes from home. Whilst standing at the boot of his car, another vehicle ran off the road and collided with the rear of the vehicle at 100km per hour. The impact basically cut Andrew in 2 and resulted in his right leg being amputated below the knee, left leg crushed below the knee and head injuries.
As a part of his own rehab and physical fitness program, Andrew began kayaking the local waterways around Maffra in East Gippsland to strengthen his upper body and it was during these times on the water that the thought of doing something big in a kayak had begun.
In 2009, the Sale to Sea Amputee Kayak Challenge was developed to raise awareness to amputee issues as well as promote active participation within all our communities for those living with a disability.
The Sale to Sea Amputee Kayaking Challenge involved a journey of 120km from the Port of Sale to Lakes Entrance through the iconic Gippsland Lakes. The event was run from the 7th Oct to 10th Oct 2009 during Amputee Awareness Week and as a lead up to International Day of Disabilities in December. The Challenge was not a race, but an adventure undertaken by Andrew, close mate Troy Anderson, 2 other amputees and 3 individuals with various types of disabilities, to highlight victory over adversity and to promote a positive lifestyle.
Co-founder, Troy Anderson
The initial Sale to Sea Challenge was undertaken in horrendous conditions on the first 2 days, but these conditions made the kayakers all the more determined to succeed. The team had the pleasure of kayaking with dolphins and Sea Eagles which made the trip one of the best experiences for all those who participated.
Since the completion of the 2009 Challenge, the event has had numerous comments and feedback made regarding the teams success in completing the journey in conditions that most non-disabled people would frown or baulk from. The courage and determination to succeed has left an impression on a lot of people with footage of the event seen in Indonesia and Darwin.
The 2011 Disability Kayak Challenge was again focused on assisting those living with a disability to live life on their terms. The number of participants grew to 60 with a number of vision impaired participants taking up the Challenge and succeeding in what they stated was a journey of a life time. Vision Impaired kayaker from Bairnsdale, Liz Green, completed the journey in a single kayak after deciding to enter, as her first major challenge since losing her eyesight 18 months ago. Liz’s strength and determination was inspiring for all those who had the pleasure of kayaking with her.
Business support for the event continues to grow across the region with many of last years sponsors requesting to be a part of this unique example of ones ability to overcome adversity and have a go. Several interstate businesses also provided support in what they see as a unique event highlighting individual feats of courage and determination for those with a disability focused on leading an active life.
The Challenge was initially a small idea of Andrew’s and life-long mate, Troy Anderson, to show that people living with a disability, whether lifelong, TAC or Workcover related, are still willing to have a go and improve their own quality of life. As a result, Sale to Sea Inc has gone on to support those within our Gippsland East community affected by sudden illness, disablement and financial stress to improve their individual circumstances and quality of life. No matter how big or small the problems affecting those we have supported, the outreached hand of kindness has helped overcome barriers that have at times been overwhelming.