Daredevil Frenchman defies disability to become champion wakeboarder
A fearless wakeboarder has told of how he defied his disability to become a champion at his sport.
Daredevil Frenchman Jerome Elbrycht, 37, was an aspiring cook and keen snowboarder when his life was turned upside down in June 1998.
Jerome fell over six metres and broke several bones in his spine, leading to him becoming a paraplegic.
However, this life-changing injury did not put Jerome off his sport and he started sit-down wakeboarding after a brish with sit-skiing.
“I met a guy while I was sit-skiing in La Rochelle in 2006 and he told me about sit-down wakeboarding,” he said.
“At the time I only knew about water-skiing but the more he told me, the more I thought “Hmm, I like this!”
“I built my seat, found a guy to make me a frame so I was ready to ride.”
Jerome says his new sport is “a little more physical” than sit-skiing but he took to it like a duck to water.
“I don’t think it’s as difficult as sit-skiing but maybe a little more physical,” he said.
“But it is great fun, it is like a skate park on the water.”
Jerome got so hooked on his new hobby that he started entering competitions, becoming French champion last year after finishing second at the European Championships in 2012.
“I’ve got to travel so much; I have visited parks all of Europe and as far away as Thailand,” he said.
“I hope I can keep practicing for a long time yet and visit more places to meet more great people.”