Kitesurfing isn’t the easiest thing in the world to learn how to do even though I compared it to learning the game of checkers the other day compared to windsurfing which is more like learning chess. However, some people take to it like a duck to water and Sean Reyngoudt just happens to be one of those … despite the fact that he is a below the knee amputee and kites with the aid of a Renegade foot from Freedom Innovations.
With the help of his prosthetist who fitted him with the foot which is especially designed for highly active amputees, Sean began his transformation into a world-class extreme sports athlete.
Freedom Innovation’s patented Renegade Foot features their all carbon fiber Z-Shock Technology, providing a smooth and normal gait for running, jumping or just walking. And Sean is about their best walking advert for the success of this limb – he’s most certainly their best boarding advert too…
A few months after putting on the Renegade, Reyngoudt won his first wakeboarding competition at the Extremity Games, and then began his kiteboarding career. Today he is among the top kiteboarders in the world, and the only amputee competitor.
Reyngoudt, 25, is best known for being the world’s only professional amputee kiteboarder and wakeboarder. He’s competed at the: Oregon Gorge Games – Kiteboarding Jupiter-Ft. Lauderdale Downwinder – Kiteboarding Corpus Christi Velocity Games – Kiteboarding Triple S Invitational – Kiteboarding Gravel Tour – Wakeboarding Air Nautique Games.
Not only does he waveboard and kiteboard to international competition standard, but he has also free-dived to 90ft and has done some bluewater spearfishing and shark-riding.
Sean’s accident happened in 2003 when he lost his leg below the knee in a fork-lift accident. His sound foot was also severely injured which kept him wheelchair bound for the first 3 months. “Well, if I can’t walk then I’ll swim,” he thought and began free-diving as soon as his wounds were healed.
Sean’s insurance policy did not include a prosthesis from Arthur Finnieston Prosthetics + Orthotics, but his insurance company should have realised that this was a man you did not say no to. He fought them every step of the way and finally received approval to get his prothesis from the place of his choice. By this stage he had been walking on crutches for months. The day he was fitted with the Active Socket™ he literally left the clinic at a run and that was the beginning of his incredible story – crippled to extreme sports athlete through sheer determination and a positive “no limits” attitude.
Six months after receiving his first prosthesis, Sean decided to give wakeboarding a go. He had wakeboarded before his amputation so knew the sport. To the amazement of everyone, he not only got up on the board his first time, but he also felt so comfortable that he tried jumping. A few months later, he won first place in wakeboarding at the Extremity Games.
It wasn’t long after this that Sean was introduced to kiteboarding. Kiteboarding, as we all know, is an extreme sport that few able bodied athletes do. It is estimated that there are no more than a quarter of a million kiteboarders in the world today, each with his or her own style – wakestyle, waveriding, freestyle, freeride, jumping and cruising. This is a miniscule amount of people and it was certainly no deterrent to Sean – if anything it probably inspired him to succeed.
To the amazement of the kiteboarding community, he learned to kite and started doing tricks immediately. 6 months later he was asked to be team rider for Bestkiteboarding.com. He entered competition after competition, and worked on perfecting his freestyle skills. Today, he is able to complete the expert tricks done by the world’s best kiteboarders.
Sean’s goal is to continue competing in national competitions and to enter the international PKRA competitions against the best 25 kiteboarders in the world.
It is with sincere feelings of respect and congratulations that we wish him the best of luck.