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Adaptive Water Sports

Nantucket Community Sailing, in partnership with AccesSportAmerica will offer adapted water sport clinics for disabled athletes. Through this program, participants learn how to windsurf, kayak, and row in Nantucket Harbor. Held at our Jetties Beach location, clinics are open to adults and children over 5 years of age. All day clinics will be held on Fridays throughout selected days from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Pre-registration is required.

AccesSportAmerica is a non-profit organization founded in 1995, which is dedicated to building personal empowerment and fulfillment for people with disabilities through High-Challenge sports.

"We believe that participating in a High-Challenge sport experience for a day, week or summer offers much more than the exhilaration or thrill inherent to the sport. The experience in attitude, esteem and expectation for a life lived with disability. The benefits are obvious from a healthcare standpoint. People realize after one day, that they are so much more than their disability."

Ross Lilley, Executive Director and Founder of AccesSportAmerica

Held at Jetties Beach on Nantucket, students will work one-on-one with an instructor during 1 and ½ hour sessions. Students may participate once, weekly or monthly to increase competency and independence. Students are encouraged to bring a companion who will also share the experience.

  • Swimming ability is not an issue
  • Our experienced instructors can work to increase comfort level with water
  • Clinics are open to adults and to children over 5 years of age.
  • Pre-registration is required- Please see the AccessSportAmerica site for more information or call AccessSportAmerica at 617.303.2459 for more information.
  • Clinics are $10-$60 per session *sliding scale fee based on student's ability to pay*

Our Mission

AccesSportAmerica adapts and teaches innovative High-Challenge sports to children and adults with disabilities. Together we discover and build on new capabilities and strengths, reaching beyond expectation.

Staff and Volunteer Instructors

Rev. Ross Lilley, Executive Director and Founder, has been adapting and teaching High-Challenge sports for 16 years. Our staff of volunteers are experienced windsurfers. They include physical and occupational therapist and other healthcare professionals as well as volunteers from the Nantucket community. Staff training is an integral part of program development.

Student Participation

After an initial consultation, we prepare for each of our students by selecting proper equipment adaptations and staff to accommodate his/her unique special needs. When we meet students on site, we first establish a level of comfort and fairly quickly bring them onto the water, while insuring safety, communication and good equipment adaptation.

On the water, we hope to enable students to have as much control as possible. Students sense a feeling of independence and freedom in every lesson. Some students participate once a year, others on a weekly basis.

The time is designed to foster imagination and confidence in each student.

Equipment: Adaptation and Fabrication

AccesSportAmerica adapts and/or creates its own equipment and will continue to create and fabricate to meet any person's disability. We hope to apply the skills and expertise we gained in that sport to our other High-Challenge disciplines. Nantucket Community Sailing will have adaptive equipment available for use outside clinic sessions depending upon ability & independence levels.

During the off-season, we work with Olympic rower/manufacturer Gary Piantedosi to improve our windsurfing adaptations and to pioneer new adaptation devices for rowing, kayaking and water-skiing. Our intent is to accommodate any person with any disability.

Windsurfing: We also have new board types that facilitate better "unified" opportunities and greater speed. We have over 20 adaptive devices from swivel seats to standers and handgrips. Our swivel chair and stander have been modified and improved along with other devices.

Rowing: We have a catamaran, with a sliding rigger rowing adaptation. The craft can accommodate anyone - given time to adapt. The craft has seating for one or two if there is the need to include an assistant or instructor. This is the best effort we've seen to bring a broad range of disabilities to a sport.

Outrigger Canoe: We have fashioned seats and paddles to accommodate a variety of disabilities to an already fairly accessible sport.