Sophie Veron

A para surfer from Guernsey is heading to a national competition only a few months after first hitting the waves.

Sophie Veron, who took up the sport in April, will be among the competitors at the 2024 English Para Surfing Open in Bristol next week.

Ms Veron, who has scoliosis and hydrocephalus, uses a prone board which allows her to surf on her chest.

The 32-year-old, who has previously taken part in other para sports including cycling and athletics, said she was nervous but excited to be participating in the surfing competition.

Sophie Veron

The prone board Sophie Veron uses allows her to surf on her chest

Ms Veron said she never thought she would be any good at surfing because her conditions affect her balance.

Her scoliosis - which has caused her spine to twist and curve to the side - left her with metal rods in her back. She also has a device which helps control her hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain.

"I can't stand up on a normal surfboard and I used to think surfing was out of the window until I discovered that para surfing is a thing," she said.

Ms Veron said heading to the competition organised by Surfing England just a few months after first doing the sport felt intense.

"I'm excited but nervous," she said.

"I don't quite know what to expect but I'm just rolling with it."

'Broadening surfing'

She said it was important to give everyone the chance to try whatever sport they want.

"I've kind of got the bug now for catching waves, I really like it," she said.

"I feel that rush when you catch that wave."

Para surfing instructor Rachel Green has been helping Ms Veron train for the competition.

Ms Green, who set up para-surf sessions alongside fellow instructor Rebekah Kellow in Guernsey, said they wanted to get more people on the water.

"It's about broadening surfing in a safe way," she said.

"It's all just really exciting."

The English Para Surfing Open is on 4-5 July 2024.


From BBC




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