Mission Impossible, Ewan Jaspan's Road to Recovery
Ewan had a bad injury a couple years back causing him to take a hiatus from kiteboarding. This year, after a lot of hard work and training, he finally made the long trip from Australia to Brazil to enjoy kiting again. We caught up with Ewan after being blown away by his latest film release following his Brazil trip.
What kind of injury did you have and how long were you out of commission for?
My first injury was at the PKRA event in China in October 2013. At first they said to just take 2 months off the water, but when I started riding again it wasn’t right and after an MRI showed I needed surgery—I had it done as soon as possible to start the road back to riding again. This was the first real injury I had sustained and not riding from October to July was one of the toughest things I could have imagined at the time. I started riding again in July and then only a few weeks back after getting on the water I had an accident where my board went under a kicker while wakeboarding and broke my ankle and fractured my face. This needed another surgery and I simply couldn’t believe it; doctors told me it would be another 4 months off the water. However, come December while trying to ride again, I knew things weren’t right. I went to Perth to try and get my riding back a month later and I simply couldn’t ride due to pain in my ankle. After reaching out for a second opinion, the X-rays and MRI showed that the surgery wasn’t successful and I needed yet another operation on my ankle. Anyway, after all that I had my first session a few days before flying to the Triple S in June this year, and while I was still a bit tender, structurally everything was sound and I started to ride again— so far, so good!
We love your style of riding, it doesn’t even look like you ever took a break. Has it been hard regaining your strength and agility?
Coming back from all this has been the hardest part for sure. After spending so much time in bed not exercising, I had to work really hard to regain my fitness. Before these injuries I never went to the gym to train, just rode as much as possible and thought I would be fine. I guess my injuries weren’t as a result of this, but it is good to keep fit in order to minimize your chances wherever possible! Being injured has given me a lot of time to work on getting stronger and this has definitely helped my riding improve again.
I find tricks a lot easier than before, but this is not what was hard to get back. Regaining my tricks again was a mental game—it seemed like mission impossible after the first surgery—but after three I thought it might never come back. Just passing the bar or landing was scary as hell for the first few months. When you have been through so much pain and know how easily things can go wrong, it really messes with your mind. Only after this trip to Brazil have I really started to feel confident going big again and trying new tricks. Spending a lot of time visualizing my riding definitely helped with this, but there is nothing like the real thing—and definitely nothing like the Lagoons of Brazil!
What kind of physical therapy did you go through, how did you train to get back into kiteboarding shape?
Being a kiteboarder it’s not exactly easy to afford a lot of physical therapy. I was lucky that my parents helped chip in for mine, but even then it was minimal compared to what a lot of athletes go through. I spent a lot of time in the gym and at home working on my shoulder and ankle to regain strength and movement. I also had a good friend, Cayque, help me out in the gym after my ankle surgeries. He would help me train and carry weights around to benches for me while I spent months on crutches. Definitely grateful for his help!
Has your new style/approach to riding affected your plans for the future?
Not particularly. I still want to push my riding, make great videos, help and watch others progress and travel the world doing what I love!
What goals did you have on your way to Brazil? Were there specific tricks you were working on, or was there something specific you wanted to share with your fans and the greater kiteboarding world?
Before heading to Brazil I didn’t really know what to expect. I had been riding for a few months and done a few trips, but I still wasn’t feeling fully confident and just wanted to see where I could get with 4-5 weeks of solid riding. I think I may have even surprised myself! Brazil is the ultimate place to train, and being able to ride with all the worlds best riders is not only motivating but also inspiring. You are able to look at all the top pros and take inspiration from all of them. Ideally I wanted to leave Brazil with some great footage and to make a movie that showcased some different freestyle/wakestyle riding to what the majority of people are trying to push. I don’t think it’s anything groundbreaking, but I am very happy with where I am at the moment, and the feedback I have received has been amazing, and to get all that after so much time out the sport, at times doubting if I could ever return to a high level has been the best part of all. I just can’t wait for the next year of my life hopefully getting more involved in the kiting world, pushing my riding and sharing good times with the best people there are, Kiteboarders!
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