Tag Archives: joe stone

Extreme Water Adventures with a Spinal Cord Injury


Gentle swimming with a therapist this post is not. You can leave your floaties and zen music at home. We’re profiling all of the extreme water activities people with spinal cord injuries can do, and even we were impressed. From “barefoot” water skiing to jet skiing, the water can be our playground.

And even better – the world is slowly realizing we are not fragile things. With the right equipment, we can do nearly any water activity able bodied people can do, it just may take a  bit more time. Here are three videos we’ve uncovered that exemplify this beautifully.

Video #1: How a Paraplegic Barefoot Water Skis

Mark “Animal” Turner, a grand champion in adapted waterskiing from Buda, Texas, is a favorite of ours here at SPINALedia. We first featured his amazing water skills in our blog last year, where he was doing one heckuva jump in a sit-ski, and now he’s at it again but this time without a sit-ski.

While skiing with friends in Austin, Texas last week, Mark, who’s a low level paraplegic, decided to do something no other paraplegic has done to his knowledge – barefoot skiing. Yup that’s right, the art of skiing without anything except your feet. And while Mark can’t move his feet at all, he’s managed to figure it out by using his shins and the tops of his feet.

After the boat takes off, Mark, while hanging onto a bar that’s hinged to the side of the boat, pulls himself up into position, puts his legs under him, and voila – he barefoot skis for about 20 seconds. Does it look fun? Yes absolutely, and where can I sign up!?

Watch: Simply barefootin it

Video #2: Custom Wetsuit Enables Quad to Swim Freely

Joe Stone has always been a fierce adventurer. A lover of the mountains and everything outdoors, that’s unfortunately how he was injured; while speed flying in Montana. Joe broke his C7 vertebrae, and has been unable to walk since.

Joe however is one very strong low-level quad. Before his injury he had dreams of one day completing an Ironman triathlon, and swim often. After his injury, he still wanted to swim but he got smart – he ordered a custom speed-enhancer wetsuit from Eco-Hydro (they take a whopping 20 measurements). This is a wetsuit only worn by paraplegic swimmers, but Joe wanted to see if he could use it too.

And success was had! He not only put the suit on himself, it helped him stay buoyant in an amazing way. Maybe this should become standard equipment in swimming rehab? I imagine it could help millions of people.

Watch: Gear Talk with Joe Stone: How does a quadriplegic swim?

Video #3: Jet Skiing in Agadir, Morocco

Our last video shows a typically standard water sport – jet skiing – but when you add-in the exotic location, Agadir, Morocco, it gets a bit more exciting. The video we uncovered features Olaf Cornelis, a paraplegic with a zest for life.

Olaf is the president of I’m Freee!! Traveling, a new nonprofit from Belgium that’s creating 100% accessible exotic locations for disabled travelers, and the first destination they are ready to offer as a package trip is Agadir.

In this video, he shows how a wheelchair-user goes jet skiing in Morocco, from the helpers on the beach who carry him to the jet ski to his aide riding with on the back for safety precautions.

Watch: Jetski & Quad Ride – I’m Freee!! Travelin

When you’re paralyzed, things can get difficult, there’s no question about it, but at least in the world of water, there’s a lot we can still do, and the extreme stuff is just the sweet-sweet gravy.

What crazy water sports have you gotten into post-injury?

Watch the videos!

Paraplegic “barefoot” water skiing with his shins

A very fit C7-8 quad shows how he swims better with a custom wetsuit

Paraplegic goes jet skiing in Morocco

Dealing with the Dreaded SCI Anniversary


Anniversaries can be either super fabulous or super depressing, depending on what’s being commemorated. In the world of spinal cord injuries, it’s a 50/50 thing, but most look at their SCI anniversary as a sad thing they’d rather not remember.

“Yup, one more year in a wheelchair,” is the thought process, and then there are the others who wildly celebrate the anniversary of their injury, looking at it as they have an amazing survival ability. We all can be vastly different with our coping methods.

From a 40 year old Australian talking about what he misses most to a quadriplegic embracing dozens of adapted sports the first year of his injury, here are three people with spinal cord injuries showing how they manage their anniversaries.

Video #1: Aussie Quad’s 2nd Anniversary; What He Misses & What Gives Him Hope

In our first video from Shane Clifton, a 40 year old dad, husband and C3-4 quadriplegic from Australia, he opens up on the second year anniversary of his injury, which occurred when he rode his BMX bike into a foam pit to break his fall (but the foam didn’t cushion as expected). In this honest video, Shane opens up about how difficult it has been for him.

To make his video worth watching, he’s dubbed it, “7 Deadly Sins,” and he lists seven things he misses most and seven things he’s thankful for. It’s a really great idea. It gives you perspective and allows you to vent.

From missing surfing, orgasming and not having to adhere to a schedule every day to things he’s thankful for such as receiving (some) hand function back and his wonderful wife and kids, this is one profound video.

Watch: Shane’s 2nd Year Anniversary 7 Deadly Sins

Video #2: “My First Summer as a Quad” and Trying Adapted Sports

Some people aren’t big talkers, like Joe Stone, a 20 something incomplete C7 quadriplegic from Minnesota. He was living in Montana at the time of his injury since he was absolutely obsessed with the outdoors. His injury in fact was due to a speed flying accident; another hobby Joe loved to do.

After his injury however Joe has been determined to remain active, and the first summer of his injury he took on several adapted sports. Whitewater rafting, off-road hand-cycling, 4×4 mountain biking, and he documented it all with a GoPro camera.

In his video, “First summer post spinal cord injury,” he almost brags at everything he did during the first summer injured, and he has definite bragging rights. Most people with spinal cord injuries don’t even touch these sports until a few years in.

Watch: Joe Stone shows off the sports he tried his first summer paralyzed

Video #3: Visiting the Site of Your Injury

And from our perennial favorite Andrew Angulo, who has been making videos of his life since his injury, here is his “1 Year Spinal Cord Injury Anniversary” video, which is one of the first videos he made. This video is a mix of both remembering his injury and thanking his family and friends.

Injured in a motorcycle accident, Andrew first visits the site of his injury in his neighborhood and reflects, talking about how difficult the first year has been on everyone. Afterwards, he and his two young boys have some fun with an anniversary cake you have to see to believe.

Watch: Andrew Angulo’s 1st anniversary video

It can be difficult recognizing your injury anniversary, but whether it makes you sad or feel empowered, it needs to be recognized. Anniversaries remind us of where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and it can’t get anymore important than that.

How do you celebrate your SCI anniversary?

Watch the videos!

Shane Clifton, a quadriplegic, reflects on his life on the 2 year anniversary of his spinal cord injury, titled “7 Deadly Sins”

Joe Stone, a low quadriplegic and lifelong outdoorsman, and his first summer as a quad

Paraplegic Andrew Angulo thanks his family for all of their support on the first year of his SCI anniversary