When and why did you initially get into surfing?
I grew up in Vancouver, Canada playing soccer, skateboarding and snowboarding. I loved snowboarding in powdery snow because it felt like surfing. I had my first surf lesson in Tofino, BC and was hooked from my first wave. Fast forward, I’m now a 3x ISA World Para Surf Champion. I’m excited that adaptive Surfing is moving toward the Paralympics.
Did you have a time you laid off from surfing? Why did you start back up?
When I was 18, I landed a snowboard jump badly and sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury. I had to take 1-2 years off surfing or any fun, risky sports. I knew I could still swim post injury, and returned to warm water surfing in Hawaii. I learned I couldn’t stand, but I could pop up to my knees and the rush of the ocean felt the same. I learned I couldn’t surf at home in Canada because it was too difficult to get into wetsuits with my leg paralysis, but years later, I discovered I could get in the Rip Curl Flashbomb suits and returned to my home break. In 2016, I starting competing for Canada in surf comps and found the adaptive surf community. I thought people would be just going straight in the washwash, but guys were doing snaps and getting barreled. It totally changed my perspective of that was possible for adaptive surfing. And it changed my perspective of what was possible for me and I started to train. Now I’ve progressed to duck-dives, cutbacks, and shortboards. I feel like this is just the beginning.
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
I love the rush of a steep drop. And the feeling of an open face carve.
Where is your favorite place to eat after surfing? Favorite item?
BeetBox café… the breakfast burrito. 100% tasty!
What other hobbies do you have besides surfing?
Sit-skiing, playing guitar, singing karaoke with my friends and researching surfboard design. I’d love to start shaping one day.
What type of work do you do?
I’m a specialized physiotherapist and I work at PT Hawaii. When surfing gets in the Paralympics and I get funding, I’ll take more time to just focus on surfing and training to win.
Tell us about the board you recently purchased from use?
What model size and how do you like the performance? I love my 5’6 MR Mayhem Cali Twin with the MR fins. So light and agile - Small wave fun! Plus the dims work for me like kneeboard!
Do you have any additional comments?
I love the boards in Hawaiian South Shore and the people I’ve met there are just lovely.