Zoe Smith of Bournemouth fifth at World Surfing Championship

A WOMAN who started surfing in September after a life-changing fall that resulted in the loss of a leg, placed fifth at the world championship.

More than 24 countries attended the competition in Pismo Beach, Calif., Which saw Zoe Smith finish fifth and England take seventh from December 7-11.

Although she had never competed in a surf competition before the ISA World Parasurf Championships, Zoe felt more proud than nervous when she stepped into the water.

“I was nervous, but to be honest as a female amputee to stand out on a surfboard, it’s really achievement and all that follows is really the icing on the cake,” he said. she declared.

“I never dreamed, in a million years in 2015, when I lost my leg, that I would represent England in a World Championship standing on a surfboard.

“So to go into the water with some of these amazing athletes is a privilege.”

An inherently positive attitude paired with unwavering courage and determination helped Zoe overcome her latest challenge, despite devastating injuries just a few years ago.

She said: “Honestly, I thought that was it for me, I felt my identity was stolen and I had a few dark days after that, but the choice is yours.

“You have a crossroads and you can go either way and I decided to go my way, which is to really keep going.

“I wouldn’t change a thing now. My leg has taken me to places and given me opportunities that I’ve never had before, so I’m thankful for that in a way.

Over the summer, Zoe saw footage of British para surfer Pegleg Bennett and was inspired to try the sport.

Zoe said: “Having tried surfing with two legs I know how difficult it is, but I contacted a few people and ended up booking a lesson at Wave and I was actually pretty good.

“Andy approached me and asked if I would like to go to California and be part of the team.

“So I have been training every day since and I got to a level where I was able to finish fifth in the world championship. ”

Born and raised in Bournemouth, Zoe now trains daily on the pier with the help of Bournemouth resident and head coach Andy Joyce.

“Just got on with it and love it so much, it means I worked every day – even in the most horrific waves at Bournemouth Pier,” said property developer Zoe.

Bournemouth Echo: English para surf team in California

Without stopping there, the England para surf team have a busy year ahead of them as they try to surf for the Paralympic Games.

The New Year will see Zoe compete in the Adaptive English Open at The Wave, then travel to Hawaii to compete in the Access Surf competition.

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