Screaming all the way in exhilaration a quadriplegic recently rode his first wave in five years at a packed Muizenburg beach.
"Wicked, wet, wicked" was how Conrad Hoenson described his ride. Conrad had not been in the sea since breaking his neck in a surfing accident at Camps Bay in 2000.
But on Sunday 6 March Conrad, vice-chairman of the Quadriplegic Association Western Cape, decided to return to the surf. He called on friends Deon Bing, Western Province Longboard Surfing Club chairman, and Greg Bertish, Puma Clifton Surf Life Saving Club chairman. Surfer Richard Brummer lent his board.
The trio paddled Conrad who lay flat on the longboard, past the break and, with Greg on the back of the board, Conrad rode his first wave in five years.
Conrad, a management committee member of QASA and a Pick ‘n Pay co-ordinator, couldn’t help feeling nervous before the event. “There was a little trepidation,” he said.
“It was so amazing. Phenomenal. The taste of the salty sea. I’m going to be back to do it again and again and again.”
Greg said he was ‘honoured’ to help Conrad. “We were surfing buddies when we were 15 and at school together. He called me on Sunday and said, could I be at Muizenburg beach in 45 minutes. And when I got there he was already in a wetsuit and we went straight out. We went out three times.
Conrad said: “If you think you can do it, of course you can do it. You can do anything.”