Meet 12-year old Gabe Llewellyn. Back in March Gabe was surf­ing at Ca­parica, down in Por­tu­gal, when he got run over by a long­boarder and snapped his fe­mur. It was a hor­ren­dous in­jury but the way he han­dled the whole or­deal from in­jury to re­hab, in­clud­ing a seven-hour de­lay on the tar­mac of an air­port, has been ex­em­plary. Great surfer, very brave grom. Read on.

What ex­actly hap­pened?

I was down in Caprica in March for the Matta comp hav­ing a free surf be­fore the comp started, I was pad­dling back out, and saw a long­boarder head­ing straight for me. I tried to duck dive out of the way as he did not at­tempt to change course, the nose of his board hit my thigh and snapped my fe­mur in half.

He pad­dled off, but an­other guy pad­dled me in to see if I was ok. When he picked me up my leg flopped to the side. That’s when I knew it was bad. I went straight to the hos­pi­tal, had an op­er­a­tion and stayed there for a week.

Skindog said you were hard as nails on the plane ride home even though it was chal­leng­ing. Are you like a ninja war­rior?

On the jour­ney home our plane was de­layed for seven hours, and I was in a wheel­chair get­ting a numb bum. On the way back from Lon­don Skindog made me a bed out of board bags and any­thing he could find in his van, and I watched WSL all the way back to Corn­wall which helped take my mind off things. It was a very test­ing jour­ney which we couldn’t have done with­out Skindog.

So you are back in the wa­ter now?

It feels ter­rific to be back in the wa­ter, but some­times I get scared when I see a long­boarder com­ing to­wards me.

How long were you out of the sea for and what did you do to keep your­self en­ter­tained and not driv­ing your mum to crazy town.

I was back in the wa­ter on a foamy after 13 weeks, but not on my surfboard un­til 16 weeks. And yes, we went to crazy town many times, but I can now bake cakes and cook­ies, I have many arts and craft skills, I read Tom Car­roll’s book ‘The Wave Within’ which was a real in­spi­ra­tion as he has had so many gnarly in­juries. Also, I played a bit too much Fort­nite!

How was your first surf back?

My first proper surf was at South Fis­tral, my Dad took me in, and it was a re­ally good surf. And how is your leg now? I guess it will take some time to come back to full strength?

My legs fine now, it’s re­ally good and strong, be­cause of all my physio it’s far stronger than my the other leg!

What has been your best surf this sum­mer, where was it and who were you with?

I had an ex­cel­lent surf with my friends at North Fis­tral this sum­mer. It was high tide three to four foot, Lu­cas, Finn, Heath, Joel and I were trad­ing off and were all hav­ing a good surf and were happy.

Last win­ter you had a fan­tas­tic trip to NZ with your dad and un­cle Gadge. Are you go­ing back this win­ter? What plans do you have? I’m not sure what our win­ter plans are yet. It would be nice to go back to New Zealand though, as it was epic with loads of amaz­ing waves.

I've seen a few peo­ple on var­i­ous craft go­ing crazy in crowds, and a lot of near misses, any words of ad­vice for them?

I see a lot of this at Fis­tral, it does worry me as I still get flash­backs to my ac­ci­dent. I'd say no one ever seems to think they are surf­ing dan­ger­ously, but things go very bad very quickly. There is no ex­cuse to run over any­one.

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