#HighFivesAthlete Ty Tuner shares his POV!
While working as a skydiving instructor, Tyler was performing a routine landing after filming a guest complete their first tandem skydive from 10,000 feet. A canopy malfunction and failed parachute sent Tyler into the ground with tremendous force. This accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury, 2 months amnesia, and shattering both of his feet, resulting in the eventual amputation of both legs.
Once upon a time at US Open of Surf…
When the phone rings and Roy Tuscany’s face pops up on the screen, I know it’s going to be a good call. One month later I’m on a plane flying to California to meet up with my friends, and fellow athletes, for the US Open Adaptive Surfing Competition. It has been two years since this contest has run and two years since I’ve seen a lot of the amazing athletes and volunteers from High Fives Foundation.
Although the real reason I’m here is to give it my all in the surf contest, I am secretly more stoked for the week of hanging out and surfing with the High Fives Ohana. And let’s be honest, the swag bag is always so sick! The six days started off with three days of training, surfing twice a day and getting dialed in on the wave at the contest site on the north side of the Oceanside pier. Coming from the west coast of Canada I got to leave the 5/4mm wetsuit behind and was only wearing trunks and a rash guard, it felt amazing but a little foreign. Despite the warm water and good vibes, I finished off our training days still feeling the rust after a long year of snow and little surfing.
The stoke in the air on day 1 of the US Open was high! The format was two heats round robin and with a little luck on my side I managed to squeeze into the semi finals in sixth place. I wasn’t super happy with my performance but I didn’t really mind. Between cheering on the other High Fives athletes and coming up with a strategy for Sunday, I was just happy to be part of this amazing event.
Day 2 started off glassy with signs of the forecasted swell showing up. I was re-energised and ready to surf with the semi finals upon us. Volunteer of the year Rob Jarvis carried my board to the water’s edge while I donned my jersey, Roy and Dani Trujillo waved the High Fives flags and cranked tunes from a boombox. I felt like I was a WWE wrestler about to enter the ring. The waves were clean and I got a great backside set wave to put a nice score on the board early. I followed it up late in the heat with a sneaky frontside wave into the pier that solidified my spot in the finals with a first place finish in my heat. Finals came later that afternoon and after surfing twice a day for a week the shoulders were feeling pretty beat up and exhausted. I was excited to paddle out with my friends and competitors Sponge Williams, Mike Pingitore, and Benji Davis for the kneeling finals. The wind had picked up and I struggled to find a decent peak in the tricky conditions, but I gave it my all. I was lucky to get a decent backside wave off the pier and finish off the heat in third place!
I couldn’t be more happy to come back home to Canada with a plaque for the wall, some prize money in my pocket and a little bit of bragging rights but even more happy to have spent a week with some of the greatest people at an event that is an incredible arena for adaptive athletes to compete at an elite level. What a week to be part of and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Thank you to our staff, volunteers, and Watermen!
Dani Trujillo, Jeff Easter, Rob Jarvis, Bruce Boyle, Sano Shishido, Meg Berry, Miki Trujillo, Kate Abraham, Ebbett Abraham, Chaka, & Stoke for Life.