At the beach or the skate park – this is where you would’ve found Christiaan Bailey (who’s on the cover of this month‘s Sports ‘n Spokes magazine), an always-on-the-go pro surfer before his injury. What’s awesome about this SCI superstar is that this is where you can still find him.
A L3-L4 fracture while filming a skateboarding video in 2006 is how Christiaan became paralyzed, but he’s refused to let it stop him from doing what he loves. Within weeks, Christiaan was already sketching surf board designs for paraplegics from his hospital bed.
Why he’s fearless
It wasn’t an easy for Christiaan, now 31, to get back into doing what he loved, but he put himself back in the thick of things A.S.A.P. He knew right away he had to rediscover his abilities, still surf, still skate, to stay sane. It took a lot of work, but in the year he was catching speed once again.
Now Christian, as well as Jesse Billauer (quad and founder of Life Rolls On), has become one of the only disabled pro surfers in the world, with Christiaan staking the claim of being the only paraplegic pro surfer.
I love that his sponsors from before his injury continued supporting him afterwards. He teamed up with Life Rolls On right away too, a natural fit, he got involved in “extreme sitting” sports, with adapted surfing and chair-skating made for him.
Since getting into adapted surfing, Christiaan has been in several tournaments, including the U.S. Open of Surfing, and he‘s been busy surfing at events all summer. He also founded the non-profit, the Ocean Healing Group, to help young people with disabilities go adapted surfing. His organization is doing LOTS of cool things. Check them out: Ocean Healing Group.
Other than surfing and being a rad dude, Christian also helps host events through Life Rolls On, such as the They Will Surf Again and They Will Skate Again events, where they bring out people with disabilities who have never done any extreme sitting sports.
And he also teaches adapted surfing at Shaka Beach Retreat in Costa Rica (owned by some of his friends) to kids with disabilities. Christiaan actually loves to travel and has done a lot since his accident, from surfing at beaches all around the world to passing out refurbished wheelchairs in developing countries for UCP Wheels for Humanity.
Why is Christian a superstar? He has refused to let his injury take a second of happiness from his life. Anyone who’s newly injured can definitely take a cue from this guy.
Did you rediscover new ways to do what you love after your injury? How did it go?
Watch the videos!