Metal leg doesn’t stop EL surfer
Posted by Xeno on May 21, 2010
A BRAVE East London photographer defied odds by winning a major international surfing competition in the United States – barely a year after losing his leg in a motorbike smash.
Returning home yesterday, an elated Jean-Paul Veaudry said he was thrilled with his achievement at the prestigious WSA surfing contest, held in California over the weekend.
Veaudry – whose leg was amputated after a hit-and-run accident – won in the challenged athletes’ division.
“I am very happy. It was quite an achievement, especially because it’s been almost one year since I lost my leg,” he said.
The avid surfer had a prosthetic leg fitted soon after his May23 accident.
The invite to surf some of California’s most famous breaks came from Dana Cummings, who who runs Ampsurf, an NGO that caters for surfers with amputations.
Veaudry said he felt privileged to have been a guinea- pig for the California State University, which developed a prosthetic leg especially for surfers.
“The new leg has less parts, is lighter, more waterproof and more flexible,” he said.
“They want to keep in touch because there are minor adjustments that need to be made. The leg is mostly metal, which damaged my board.”
Asked if the leg could have given him an advantage, Veaudry said it could, though he was very nervous because he had it fitted for the first time the day before the championships.
The contest wasn’t all smooth sailing. Veaudry kicked a rock with his good leg and it almost cost him a toe. Not being able to “feel” the board with his artificial leg was the hardest part. “As a surfer you have to have your feet on the board and I don’t feel my board as I used to.”
This won’t be his last visit to the States . Veaudry has been invited to enter another surfing contest there in July.