We’re sure you’ve heard of the famous Colin Cook. From featuring articles in Surfer Magazine, to a Real Sports show on HBO, Colin’s story is one of motivation and inspiration. Overcoming the loss of his leg from a shark attack on Hawai’i’s North Shore, his fearlessness and determination is a testament to where he is today. He has more than adapted to his journey, even to the point of designing his own custom surfing prosthetic!
Let’s hear it from the man himself…
How long have you been surfing?
I have been surfing for over 15 years. Six of those as an adaptive surfer.
How do you adapt?
I surf standing with a fully custom above the knee surfing prosthetic.
What does being in the water mean to you?
Being in the water and surfing means everything to me, it’s my greatest passion and makes me very happy.
We feel the same! When did you first begin competing and what do you enjoy about competing?
I competed a few times as an able body athlete but started taking it more seriously after I lost my leg. 2016 was my first adaptive surfing competition. I like to push myself and always try to surf at the best of my ability. I feel competing pushes me to surf at a higher level.
We know you have your fair share of medals under your belt, mind telling us about your wins?
Some contests that I have won first place are: the 2017 and 2018 USA National Championships, the 2017 Hawaii Adaptive Surfing Championships, the 2019 US Open Adaptive Surfing Championships, and the most recent was the 2020 ISA AMPSurf Adaptive World Championships.
Tell us about surfing your home break of Rhode Island.
I was born in Rhode Island where I learned to surf. RI has much better waves than most people know, the waves are mostly very rocky point breaks and rock reef structures. Surfing in the winter is really good but very cold, you have to wear a 6mm wetsuit with gloves and booties since the water temperatures dip into the 30’s F.
A 6mm wetsuit?! YIKES!
Well last but not least, do you have any advice for our young adaptive keiki, or any adaptive surfer for that matter?
My biggest piece of advice to any adaptive surfers would be to think outside the box as far as your technique and equipment go. When I started surfing with a prosthetic there wasn’t an Above the Knee surfing prosthetic available so my friends and I built and designed a fully customized carbon fiber surfing prosthetic. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.
Mahalo Collin! Keep shredding and sharing the stoke!