Sara Egan has cerebral palsy, which affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance.
But through sheer determination she has learned to stand-up paddle board, near the spot where she used to watch her late father, Jim Egan, surf.
Ms Egan, 40, achieved her sporting goal with the help of Rebecca Dunning, 43, a two-time national body boarding champion.
Mrs Dunning, of Stand Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour, is now a SUP Fitness instructor and during the past two years has established a special connection with Ms Egan at Reddall Reserve.
Part of Ms Egan's inspiration are memories of watching her father surf at Warilla or Shellharbour. Now she is not only emulating him but finding a way to stay connected.
Ms Egan first met Mrs Dunning when she decided to try her hand at stand-up paddle boarding.
She initially came to a SUP Yoga lesson and, after many tumbles and laughs, her persistence paid off.
She can now stand up on a paddle board alone and even catches the odd wave in the surf near where her dad used to ride his board.
"I was a but apprehensive to begin with but I thought I would just give it a go. The first lesson was interesting but I went back," Ms Egan said.
"After the second time I decided I would go and buy my own paddle board without knowing how to use one. I did that to celebrate 20 years as a chef which is a pretty big achievement for someone with a disability.
"At the third SUP Yoga lesson I went up to Bec and told her I had bought a fibreglass paddle board and wanted to learn how to use it."
The Robertson Hotel chef and founder of Sara Egan Cake Decorating initially trained in a heated pool at Shellharbour Swim Academy in winter but now loves getting out once-a-week at Reddall Reserve.
"The reason I love coming out here at sunrise is I find it a great way to connect with my dad who passed away five years ago," she said.
"He was a keen surfer. I used to hang around near hear watching him surf. Half the time I am paddle boarding I know he is out there having a surf with me.
"Recently I went out for a paddle of Warilla Beach. When I came back I had a look at the photos and there was a love heart shape in the clouds."
Stand Up Paddle Boarding has helped Ms Egan build balance and strength. She kept going despite many falls because she realised she was only ever going to land in water and that was never going to hurt her.
The last two years have been a great lesson in how will power and practice can make the difficult and seemingly impossible achievable. Especially when you have a positive attitude.
"If you think you can, you will," Ms Egan said.
"I initially told Bec if I can't stand up it is not going to worry me I am just glad to be out paddling around on my knees. I can't stand up like most people so I knew I probably would not be able to on a paddle board. But we gradually figured it out."
When Mrs Dunning realised a softer inflatable board would be easier to learn to stand on Ms Egan realised she was going to be able to do it and never gave up.
"I would sit on the front and Sara would use my shoulders to get up," Mrs Dunning said.
"Then we went to her using her own paddle to get up using a yoga move."
The first day Ms Egan managed to stand up on a paddle board she celebrated by paddling to Windang Island and back. She did fall off but didn't give up and gradually learned how to do it on her own without any assistance.
Ms Egan's next goal is to master surf paddle boarding.
She loves it because it gives here the freedom she has craved on the water since she was a young child. It is a joy many take for granted but was not something she could do until recently.
"It has been so good for my self esteem," she said.
"Not being able to balance like most people is pretty hard. Especially on a paddle board".
But last weekend she travelled up to Scotts Head with the Dunnings and with their help managed to do an ocean paddle.
Mrs Dunning found her love of surfing in the ocean at 13 and went on to win two national bodyboarding titles and placed ninth in the 1996 World Surfing Games in California.
She competed until she was 30 but after the birth of her daughters Allyssa and Zoe made the change to stand up paddleboarding eight years ago when she and her husband Justin Dunning decided to give it a try.
That eventually led them to Stand Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour.
"Jason Pyke needed an SUP instructor for exercising on paddleboards and they asked me," Mrs Dunning said.
"He trained me up and I became internationally qualified. When he started shaping boards again we decided to start our own business four years ago. And it has just exploded".
Stand Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour is internationally accredited as a SUP Fit, SUP YogaFit and Night SUP school and is able to do NDIS social recreation fitness sessions.
That means some of the people Mrs Dunning takes out to locations such as Minnamurra are children with a disability.
She has recently worked with children with autism, a child in a wheelchair and two visually impaired girls.
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