Surfing-Amputee surfer making waves in the sport

Sarah Almagro, 23, trains with her coach Javier Donoso, during the adaptive surfing Open LPA Surf City, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain, June 11, 2023. © REUTERS/Borja Suarez

By Borja Suarez

When Sarah Almagro was 18 she suffered meningococcal meningitis and surgeons had to amputate both her hands and feet. Her dreams of becoming a surfer appeared to be dashed.

But only three years later, she took part in the World Para Surfing Championships in the United States and finished second.

“I had four prosthesis and a silver around my neck. It is something that I would never have imagined after everything that happened. People should never throw in the towel,” she told Reuters.

Almagro was among the competitors who took part in the Open LPA Surf City 2023 championship in Playa de las Canteras in Gran Canaria on Saturday. She came first in her group.

Adaptive surfing refers to surfing where people with disabilities adapt their techniques and equipment in order to be able to practise the sport.

sarah almagro
Sarah Almagro, 23, is assisted by her trainer Javier Donoso before entering the water, during the adaptive surfing Open LPA Surf City, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain, June 11, 2023. REUTERS/Borja Suarez

“I don’t like people being categorised. We are people. I need help. I am not worth less than you,” Almagro said.

The 23-year-old from Malaga in Spain began surfing when she was five years old.

Away from the beaches, she is studying law and also gives inspirational talks about her experiences. Almagro had to have a kidney transplant from her father because of the meningitis.

Surfing will not be part of the Paralympics next year in Paris, but Almagro hopes it will chosen as a sport for the Games from 2028.


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