Eric Dargent : "Competition is a huge springboard for accessibility"
Last December, Eric Dargent became Adaptive Surfing vice world Champion. He told us how the things went: "We were a team composed of 5 adaptive athletes, one physiotherapist and two coaches. Everything was set for me to be as efficient as possible. I immediately felt good; all the settings of my Easy Ride knee were ready. I quickly understood that, thanks to my level, my training and my motivation, I was able to do something during this competition so I gave everything".
Even if he already is France Champion, he did not take this silver medal for granted : "It is a nice surprise, I hoped I could get to the final. That was my main goal, to be in the first four, get to this final and here I was. At the beginning, I felt the pressure, I was a bit stressed in the water. I participated to the first sessions and then, little by little, I started having fun while surfing and I ended the final with my mind completely free. I was only thinking about surfing as best as possible. That's what I did and this allowed me to finish second".
Beyond this incredible result, Eric Dargent is pleased about the existence of such championship: "The atmosphere was very good and the team was united. We really enjoyed the organization of this event because there were a lot of media, surfing brands that came and participated, a lot of people there to serve the meals, the podiums, the comments, the judges, the security in the water... This is an event which is getting bigger and it is a pleasure to have this recognition, to feel that we are taken into account seriously, that there is a real stake too in this championship. Everyone tries to be as good as possible and to get better. These are magical moments. Before this competition, which has been existing for only 2 years, I dreamt about the adaptive surf entering the history of surf and with this championship, something is being created, is getting always more attention from surfers and from the public. People are looking, admiring they are surprised and stunned by the level of the participants, of what they can realize despite the handicap and it feels good. I think this competition is a huge springboard for accessibility".
For this championship, Eric was of course equipped with the Easy Ride knee: "For PROTEOR, it clearly is a performance indicatio : we see that this prosthesis works and we can make results with it. Even if I only arrived second, I'm the first standing up surfer because the winner is surfing on his knee and does not need any prosthesis. So that's something. And everybody who saw me with this prosthesis asked me how it works and how I can surf. They see it is something amazing and that it is now possible, for an above-knee amputee, to surf again".
Eric also uses this prosthesis to practice "every sports, like mountain bike, snowboard, skate and even pala (a kind of Basque pelota Ed). The Easy Ride knee is a very flexible prosthesis and is very pleasant to wear. The settings are quickly accessible even if it needs time to find the perfect ones and to be as efficient as possible. But it is just like an able person who is learning to surf, it takes time too. And there is the pleasure to progress each time".
Of course, sports take a lot of place in Eric Dargent's life : "It is what makes me feel good today for my phantom pains or my mental and even social balance". As a result, he is very attached to the idea that sports can help to heal. That's the reason why he wishes to share this message with as many people as possible: "I try to broadcast this concept of sports that make you feel good and help you to forget your handicap, this idea of letting go all the pains and difficulties of life because of handicap. The ‘sport therapy' and the ‘surf therapy' are something real and admitted. Then, not everyone needs to go surfing otherwise that would make a lot of people in the sea, it would be complicated (smiles Ed) but sport in general is known as something useful and good for the human, for the people. This accessibility is still to promote because it has a crucial importance for amputees, who continue to have difficulties to gain access to prosthesis that are still quite expensive in general. With PROTEOR and the Easy Ride, we managed to do something of quality, less expensive and more accessible. And it is still the fight of my association".