The first adaptive event I ever watched was the ESPN X Games Adaptive Motocross and I knew then that someday I wanted to compete in an adaptive division at a Pro Wakeboard Tour event. Now, I can say that my dream will come true in 2011! My name is Mike Krohn and I am an arm amputee, adaptive wakeboarder.
This all started a few years back when I met Darin Shapiro at his camp, Ride The Spot. Darin has become one of the biggest influences in my life. In fact, he is the one who found out about the Extremity Games, an action sports event for people with limb loss or limb difference. They have a wakeboarding division and Darin suggested that I compete.
My love for wakeboarding became more serious when I entered Extremity Games 4 in 2009. During the competition, unfortunately, I blew out my ankle and finished fourth, but what I took away from that competition was the rush of something incredible: Adaptive Wakeboarding. This was the first time I saw a guy go wake-to-wake with a prosthetic leg. Then I saw a paraplegic seated rider deep water start. My only thought was the wakeboard community as a whole needs to see this.
Since the Extremity Games experience, I started speaking with some of my contacts that were made through Darin, such as Ronix and Straight Line, for support to make adaptive wakeboarding more mainstream. In early 2010 I approached the WWA with the idea of adding Adaptive Divisions, but after a few months we realized we had a late start. That's when my WWA contact left the WWA.
As I was training to compete in the 2010 Extremity Games Elite event at the USA Wakeboard Nationals, the event was postponed to 2011. I was bummed, but didn’t let those “bumps-in-the-road” stop me.
In 2010 at Ride The Spot, I landed my first invert with one hand and got it on film! Through incredible friends, that video clip found its way onto Wakeboard Magazine’s website. At that point, I took advantage of the attention and went right to Shannon Starling, WWA President, who very quickly loved and supported the idea. From there, we brought in Beth Taylor, Event Director for Extremity Games and a huge part of the adaptive sports community.
In early January 2011, the WWA announced the inclusion of Adaptive Standing and Adaptive Sit-Boarding at the 2011 WWA Nationals. Since Extremity Games is in the early summer, Beth offered to have the Games be the qualifier for WWA Nationals. Extremity Games will now be a sanctioned event by WWA.
The WWA Nationals location and dates have not been released as of yet, but a good finish at Nationals will get you an invitation to the prestigious Rockstar WWA Wakeboard World Championship presented by Supra scheduled for August 18-21, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. There, a World Champion will be crowned in both Adaptive Standing and Adaptive Sit-Boarding.
I encourage any and every wakeboarder with limb loss or limb difference to come out to the Extremity Games and take part in this groundbreaking 2011 season. Whether you’re an athlete or in the wakeboard community, take a moment to check out the amazing things these athletes can do!
A special thank you goes to Ronix, Straight Line, DunkleVolk, Spy, Ride The Spot and Grindwater for all the support to me, as well as Shannon Starling, Beth Taylor and my wife, Dominique, for seeing my vision and making this all possible. Thank you!
For more information on Extremity Games or to register, visit extremitygames.com or call 248-829-8353. For more information on WWA, visit thewwa.com.