This Competitive SUP’er Has No Arms
A slice of human interest.
Now, a healthy dose of inspo. The stories of watermen and women who’re missing limbs goes on. We know the story of Bethany Hamilton, the world’s most famous one armed surfer, who just last winter spent some time towing into Jaws, and absolutely tears. There’s Mike Coots, who, like Miss Hamilton, lost his leg to a shark attack when he was 18 (Bethany, famously lost an arm at 13) and now surfs with a prosthetic leg and works towards preserving the very species of shark that took the space below his right knee, indefinitely. You’ll reconise the photos of Mr Coots on a soft top, prosthetic leg in tow, finding a proper tunnel. Accounts like these force any person question how’d they’d cope with a losing a limb, something that seems unfathomable to the able-bodied individual. Stand-up paddling, isn’t exactly a topic we’re keen on covering, but when a gent does it with no arms, and excels… well, colour us impressed.
Yesterday, the OC Register posted a story about a competitive SUP’er from Brazil named Jonas Letieri, who in 2011, lost his arms after he helped build and install a sign for his church. Upon installation, the sign came into contact with an electrical wire and resulted in the amputation of both his arms, from the elbow down.
This upcoming weekend Mr Letieri is entering the San Clemente Ocean Festival, SUP competition. A surfer since age 13, at 31, it’s difficult to not be in awe of the gent. According to the OC Register: Letieri set out to learn new ways to cook, dress himself, clean his house and do everything. His father helped him find a way to resume surfing. The two crafted a paddle attached to a steel ring that fit around Letieri’s stubbed arm. Over time, he learned to surf with it.
“That’s my life,” Jonas told the OC Register. “Being in the ocean and surfing with my friends.”
In Idaho, Jim Terrell, owner of Quickblade Paddles met Mr Letieri. He saw Jonas’ paddle and set out to make it better. “It changed my whole life, this paddle,” said Jonas. “My first paddle was made by steel rings. I was so heavy… much too heavy, with a lot of tape and stuff. Now I can stay for out for hours paddling and I don’t feel pain.”
Go ahead, feel the uplift.
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