Wales has its first surfing World Champion
Llywelyn Williams has put Wales on the global surfing map – by becoming our first World Champion in the sport.
The adaptive surfer, aged 27, scooped the gold medal in the para world surfing championship in the US.
However, for the Welsh sporting amputee from Abersoch, it’s been an incredible journey against all the odds.
At 16 years old, Llywelyn was hit by a car while skateboarding home. He suffered life-threatening injuries, including dislocating both hips, a head injury, broken femur, and a shattered pelvis.
Doctors desperately tried to save his leg but, two weeks after the accident, his family were told that the limb had become severely infected and would have to be amputated to save his life.
Wales has its first World surfing champion! Congrats Llywelyn Williams! pic.twitter.com/S2OH5LIC8d
— CARVE Surfing Magazine (@CarveMag) December 11, 2022
He began surfing aged 12 and it was his passion for the sport that saw him take to the waves again after his accident, declaring his love of surfing made him “feel alive again”.
“I still had my old wetsuit then – with both legs – so one was flopping around in the water,” he told the Daily Post. “As the first wave hit me and I came back up, I felt alive again and I felt ‘wow! This is magical’. Surfing is the best.
“When I’m in the water on my surfboard, nothing else matters. It is a fantastic sport for people of all abilities.”
There was to be another setback however, when he was in a road accident, but less than a year later he was back in the water again.
Llywelyn discovered adaptive surfing and began competing in the kneeling category, winning gold at the English Adaptive Championships in 2018 and also representing Wales at the International Surfing Association World Adaptive Championships in California.
Today, he surfs competitively around the world – his inspirational story proving that there’s power in never giving up.
Fast forward four years and all his hard work paid off in the waves of California, picking up his prized gold medal.
“What a unbelievable feeling! ” he wrote in an Instagram post. “Six solid years of pushing and doing what we love, We have finally done it and bringing the Gold medal home to Wales!”
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