MEET A GROM WHO DEALT WITH A HORRENDOUS INJURY WAY BETTER THAN MOST OF US WOULD
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.