inclusively made
Surf Life Saving NSW

Taking Back the Waves

Shining a light on beach access

The Task

Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) has been funding projects that are designed to help make their community inclusive of people with disability for a number of years.

SLSNSW wanted to create a project to highlight the barriers that people with disability experience within and around coastal precincts, showcase some of their initiatives, demonstrate examples of inclusive practice, systems and attitudes within coastal communities and express the hopes and aspirations of people with disability in relation to their experience of coastal environments and communities.

The Strategy

Utilise the power of storytelling to effectively engage with broad audiences, local government, local disability organisations as well as local SLSNSW communities.

The Brilliant Idea

Taking Back the Waves. A short documentary showcasing four stories of those with disabilities who have been able to access the beach thanks to SLS initiatives. Through the use of cinematic documentary filmmaking techniques and an accomplished and well respected person with a disability as the host, the documentary would aim to capture the heart of what SLSNSW aims to achieve through all it’s projects; help everyone experience coastal life.

We engaged Paul Nunnari, former Paralympian and The Other Superman performer to travel up the coast on a quest to shine a light on issues of inaccessibility on our cost and how SLSNSW initiatives have combated inaccessibility.

“Taking Back the Waves is a truly inspirational insight into how creating an inclusive coastal environment can be life affirming for people with disability.”

Donna Wishart

Media & Communications Manager

The Outcome

The 15 minute film was launched by the NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. Ray Williams MP, and also screened around the world at international film festivals where it received exceptional praise!


Cannes Entr’2 Marches
Human Rights Arts & Film Festival
The Nevada Dam Film Festival
Gympie Heart of Gold Film Festival
International Disability Breaking Down Barriers Film Festival
Byron Bay Film Festival

This project was made inclusively.

The production created opportunities for people living with disability to work in front of, and/or behind the camera, to help develop their experience in the professional creative industry.

Creative Director
Executive Producer
Writer & DIrector
Erin Black
Director of Photography
Dale Bremner
Editor & Colourist
Sound Design & Composition
Jonny Higgins