I started snowboarding at the age of 8 and I fell in love with it straight away. Going through school I struggled quite a lot being Dyslexic and never thought I would achieve anything. Snowboarding was the opportunity for me to get away and just enjoy myself and helped me get through it. I didn't really have a plan to take it further it was just something I really enjoyed doing.
One summer my parents signed me up to a snowboard camp up on the glacier in Zermatt. What they didn't tell me until driving me up there was that it was the tryouts for the British junior snowboard team. The reason they didn't tell me before was that they knew I would panic and not want to go. I was very nervous and didn't think I would be good enough for it but I just wanted to go snowboarding for a week so I went along. After a week of doing Freestyle snowboarding which I really enjoyed I headed home not thinking anything would come of it. After a few weeks I got a letter through the post saying that I was selected for the team. This was a huge turning point for me as I never thought I would be good at anything and now suddenly people thought I was. I was so excited to start competing and be part of the team.
After a couple seasons of competing in freestyle snowboarding (slope style and half pipe), I didn't really get any good results and was coming at the bottom end in every competition I entered. This was really hard for me as I starting thinking that maybe I was not as good as people thought I was and this was not the big break I thought it was. Then one summer at one of the training camps I discovered boardercross and again fell in love with it straight away. i love the speed, the excitement and the competitiveness of racing down the hill with 3 others next to you. At this point I was about 15/16 years old and was just old enough to compete in senior FIS races. After training on the boardercross track for a while I was eventually asked to join the Senior British snowboard cross team. Even though I wasn't doing well in the freestyle side of things I felt that this was definitely what I was good at so was so excited to start competing in it.
After a couple seasons of competing in senior level competitions I was still not getting the results I wanted. Then During a competition I had a very bad accident where I was knocked out and ended up slipping a disc in my neck. This was a huge setback for me mentally especially considering I wasn't doing very well beforehand. However by having this bad crash it made me want to do better and really motivated to push ti further. After a few months of recovery I started to train harder than ever and I started to get stronger than ever. This resulted in me getting much better results and gave me the goal of going to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Olympics was the goal for a lot of people so if I was going to make it I had to train harder than ever and thats exactly what I did. I was getting stronger than ever and finally getting some good results. It came to January 2013, this was the year I had to qualify for the olympics and I felt better than I had ever felt and was ready for the season ahead. We came into the first competition of the year and in my qualifying run I had a bad accident where my high-back on my binding broke which resulted in me sliding out on a heal edge bank corner. I sat down really hard and ended up completely off the slope. However I did not get knocked out like what has previously happened during a crash so I initially didn't think it was that bad. after i brushed myself off I unclipped my board and tried to stand up and I just collapsed. It was then I realised it may be serious..
I got taken to the hospital and after a lot of scans the doctor finally came in to give me news. I could tell straight away from his face that this was not going to be good news. He told me that I had pretty much destroyed a disc in my lower back, it was crushed, slipped, torn, and dehydrated. This was devastating for me as this was the year I needed to be at my best to qualify for the olympics. However I thought as I had over come a similar injury before through physiotherapy and strength and conditions that I would be able to do it again. I therefore asked the doctor what I would have to do to get better in time for the Olympics. He then went quiet and eventually told me that it wouldn't get better and I would most likely be in pain for the rest of my life. I found this very confusing as even if it was bad I thought they would at least be able to operate on it to fix it. He told me that the injury was such so that it was too bad to be able to fix it naturally through physiotherapy and strength and conditioning, and it was not bad enough for them to risk doing a dangerous operation on me. He told me that I would probably not be able to walk again never mind snowboard again. Just like that my Olympic dreams had been taken away from me. I can not express enough how devastating this was after working so hard towards this. I had to just go home and rest up which was really hard for me to be able to when seeing all my friends competing, getting good results and qualifying for the Olympics.
After a few months of trying to recover and resting up, it was driving me crazy that I was not able to do what I loved, snowboarding. I therefore started to think of a way I could go back to snowboarding. I knew that I would be in pain doing it however I didn't want to just go back and be defensive and not push myself. I then decided that I would go and break the British Snowboard speed record. Now this might seem like a big leap but in my head the thing that would hurt my back the most would be the pressure in turn and all the bumps so I thought by going straight downhill for 20-30 seconds that I could put up with the pain for that long and be able to push myself. Then in April 2013, just a few months after my crash that changed everything, I headed to Verbier in Switzerland and I broke the British snowboard speed record at a speed of 151.6 kph (94.2 mph). I was always interested in going fast but after doing this and overcoming my injury it got me hooked on trying to find different ways to go fast, break more records and prove the doctors wrong. From there I went broke the indoor speed record, the Guinness World Record for the fastest speed on a snowboard towed by a vehicle (twice), got propelled across a frozen lake with electric jet engines and even towed behind a plane.
I may not be able to achieve my goal of going to the Olympics however the Olympics is all about pushing yourself and your sport and in some way I still feel like I have achieved that, and i'm not even finished yet. My goal now is to keep pushing my limits further and go faster than anyone has ever been on a snowboard. My aim is to just enjoy myself snowboarding despite my injury and work on projects that I am passionate about that push me and others to do the same.
Make sure you follow me to keep track of all my exciting plans and world records I have coming up!