As an adaptive wakeboarder myself, I've seen some amazing things through the past few years. However, I can honestly say that Justin Caskey's passion for wakeboarding and ability to overcome and adapt after everything life has thrown his way is simply remarkable! Justin broke his leg playing backyard football and found out he had cancer in his leg while he was being treated. After a four year battle, his left leg was amputated, but he still continues to shred on his custom wakeboard setup and this is his story.
WW: What's your name, age and where are you from?
JC: I'm Justin Caskey, 22 and I'm from Richmond, Virginia.
WW: How old were you the first time you wakeboarded?
JC: I think I was seven the first time I wakeboarded.
WW: When were you first diagnosed with cancer?
JC: I was diagnosed with cancer the first time when I was a freshmen in high school, September of 2004. Then again when I was a senior in October 2007 (when I lost the leg).
WW: How did you end up back in the water again?
JC: I got back in the water a year and a half after I lost my leg. We were all out on the water the summer after my freshman year of college and I decided I was tired of just watching my friends wakeboard and I thought I was capable of doing it again.
WW: How long did it take for you to start riding again?
JC: I stopped wakeboarding when I broke my femur (because of the cancerous tumor in my leg) back in the summer of 2003. I started back up again in the summer of 2009.
WW: Can you describe how it felt the first time you got up on a board with one leg?
JC: It really felt good to get back on the board again. After watching and coaching my friends in wakeboarding for years, it was very freeing to be able to try again. The first ride didn't last long, but it showed me that I could do it again, which was all I needed!
WW: Where did you get the idea for your board setup. That looks one of a kind?
JC: The idea for my wakeboard was a Caskey original, haha. I'm very fortunate that I've had a father who could fix anything and got me interested in working on things at a young age. Basically, my idea was that until I get or make a wakeboarding prosthetic, I just needed something that would act as a cane for me to use as I wakeboard. I worked out the idea with my dad and our family friends (the Lavins) who knew a guy who could weld and work with metal to create the molding.
WW: What are your other hobbies besides wakeboarding?
JC: I also golf and go off-roading. And I built a contraption that lets me ride my dirt bike and shift with my right foot.
WW: Do you have any interest in competing someday at events like the Extremity Games or in the WWA Adaptive Division?
JC: I would definitely be interested in competing. I think it would be a lot of fun and I'm always trying to push my limits, haha!
WW: Is there anything you would like to say to the wakeboard industry?
JC: I would just like to say they are doing a great job to make our sport into something special.
WW: Is there anyone you would like to thank for supporting you with getting back to wakeboarding?
JC: My family obviously, Ross Lavin and the Lavin family, my best friend James Craig and Chris Harris. Chris has helped me take my wakeboarding farther than I ever thought it would go.
Justin's story is a touching one, but in the end this is about his passion for wakeboarding! You might not see a 12 or a double invert from an adaptive wakeboarder like Justin, but I promise that you will see as much passion for wakeboarding as you do from any top competitor in our sport. After this interview I passed along the contact info for BioDapt Inc., a performance prosthetic and adaptive equipment company to Justin and you can check them out at monstermikeschultz.com.