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Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Guernsey parasurfer ‘excited’ for national competition

Image caption, Sophie Veron heads to the 2024 English Para Surfing Open in Bristol

  • Author, George Thorpe
  • Role, BBC news

A Guernsey parasurfer is heading to a national competition just months after hitting the waves for the first time.

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 surfboard that allows her to surf on her chest.

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

Image caption, Thanks to the horizontal board that Sophie Veron uses, she can surf on her chest

Ms Veron said she never thought she could surf well because her conditions affect her balance.

Her scoliosis – which has caused her spine to twist and bend to the side – has left her with metal rods in her back. She also has a device that helps control her hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain.

“I can’t stand on a normal surfboard and I always thought surfing was impossible until I discovered parasurfing is a thing,” she said.

Ms Veron said it felt intense going to the competition organized by Surfing England, just a few months after taking up the sport for the first time.

“I’m excited but nervous,” she said.

“I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I’m just going to roll with it.”

‘Broadening of surfing’

She said it’s important to give everyone the opportunity to try any sport.

“I’ve kind of got the wave-catching bug now, I’m really enjoying it,” she said.

“I feel that rush when you catch that wave.”

Parasurfing instructor Rachel Green helped Ms Veron train for the competition.

Ms Green, who organized parasurfing sessions with 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 very exciting.”

The English Para Surfing Open is on July 4 and 5.

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