Beach Wheelchairs | Hippocampe vs. Public Beach Wheelchair

Beach Wheelchairs | Hippocampe vs. Public Beach Wheelchair


Today, we’re gonna hit the beaches of Alameda with some adaptive beach wheelchairs. Welcome back! This is Power On. Alameda. This island nestled into the San Francisco Bay is home to scenic shorelines, quiet communities, as well as The CIL’s newest office, which just opened this summer. Just down the street is Robert Crown Memorial Beach, a recreation area with wildlife and sandy beaches. For wheelchair users, however, visiting the beach isn’t always a relaxing experience. Because of this, many parks throughout the country have made beach wheelchairs available to the public. In the San Francisco Bay area alone, beach wheelchairs are available to borrow at more than 20 different locations for no fee. This variation is made by Natural Access, and its design is very similar to what you would find at most public beaches. Beach wheelchairs are always easy to spot. With their large inflated tires, these chairs can roll effortlessly across even deep sand. However, the chair was designed solely to be pushed from behind and because of the buoyancy of the wheels, it isn’t safe to take into the water. So, for an active wheelchair user, the Natural Access chair doesn’t allow for much independence. The original concept for the beach wheelchair dates back to the early nineties, which makes this design over 25 years old. Despite the beach wheelchair’s simple, restrictive design, it has become the standard option for beaches across the country. This is the Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair, a product designed in France. The Hippocampe comes with a handle across the back if someone would want to push you, but they don’t have to. The Hippocampe functions the same as a standard wheelchair, but its double-wheel design is able to roll over packed sand. Deeper sand, however, might require some creative thinking. But the most appealing feature of the Hippocampe is, by far, its water accessibility, something that most beach wheelchairs lack. With the Hippocampe, you’re able to roll into the water and swim out of the chair. Meanwhile, the Hippocampe will float in the water and wait for your return. Getting out of the water can be a bit tricky, but if all else fails, You can get a tow from a friend. Once you’re back on land though, watch out for the wet wheels becoming packed with sand. So, the traditional beach wheelchair is great if you just want to soak up some sun and watch the waves, which is what millions of people go to the beach every year to do. And best of all, these chairs are available to rent at dozens of beaches across the country, usually for free. But if you’re someone who is going to the beach looking to explore, get some exercise, or maybe even go swimming, the Hippocampe might be worth looking into. But whichever kind of beach-goer you are, there’s a wheelchair option for you. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, both of these chairs are available to borrow, free of charge, from the Crab Cove Visitor Center at Robert Crown Memorial Beach here in Alameda. For more information on that, check the description below. For The CIL, I’m Rafael Siegel. We’ll see you next time on Power On.

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