The most important thing to remember when using any beach wheelchair is that you are using it for your enjoyment to do something that would otherwise not be feasible. If you are worried about how you look or bothered by the stares of curious onlookers you will probably not enjoy yourself. Most people will think it’s pretty cool and be genuinely interested and maybe even inquisitive, but they will still stare at you, even if it comes from a good place. Just be prepared and don’t take notice or offense.
That said a good beach wheelchair can mean the difference between enjoying a day in the surf, sand, and sun or being left on the sidelines to watch others but not join in. I’ve used two different types of beach wheelchairs. Both did an adequate job of rolling over the sand, and I imagine that any beach chair you find will do that. However, they were both awkward to get in and out of and not particularly comfortable to sit in. One was lower to the ground and broke down so it could be transported by car. We were even able to check this one on an airplane and took it on our recent cruise to the Caribbean. The beach at St Thomas which we went to was doable. The other we rented at the beach in South Carolina and I doubt it would fit it most cars, and it sat up higher so I wasn’t able to get more than my feet wet. I’ve seen some cool ones on YouTube, but haven’t been able to try them out yet. I’m posting links to the two I have used however, if any of you have used a different type or want to comment on these two types please add a comment to the blog, email me, or send a picture. I would love to get a conversation on the pros and cons of all the different type of beach chairs so maybe working together we can encourage improvement.
It’s also time to lobby for better beach access. I usually go to the South Carolina beaches and often there is no or very inconvenient access do to the dunes and many steps approaching the beach. Give me some feedback on this as well
The very best beach access I have ever had was on a visit to Ibiza, off the coast of Spain. I didn’t have a beach wheelchair with me but they had a wonderful board walk right to the water which my regular chair was able to negotiate just fine. They also had handicapped accessible restrooms and even offered a free beach lounger to those who were in a chair!!
One thought on “Pros and Cons of Beach Wheelchairs”
Great post, Dave! You bring to light so many things us “able-bodied” folks don’t think about. Your work is important to clue-ing the world in.
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