PORT Macquarie surfer Kiel Bigeni is a glass half full kind of guy and is not letting a serious car accident over 10 years ago stop him from living life to the fullest.
Bigeni has been selected to represent the Port Macquarie Surfboard Riders in this weekend’s Sailor Jerry Surftag at Newcastle’s Merewether Beach.
The five-man team will take on some of the country’s best Boardriding Clubs including defending Australian Champions North Narrabeen.
As an 18-year-old coming through the Pro Junior Ranks and on the Volcom Surf Team, Bigeni was on his way to a Pro Surfing Career.
But a car accident on Mothers Day in 2006 left Bigeni with a crushed right leg and severe artery damage resulting in a four-month stint in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.
Not knowing if they could save his leg, doctors took muscle from Bigeni’s stomach, inserted rods and screws as well as using skin grafts to hold his lower right leg together.
After multiple operations Bigeni was left with a fused ankle and no shinbone (Tibia), but he did still have a right leg.
Doctors told Bigeni he would never run or surf again, and he didn’t for 12 months, but 11 years after the accident Bigeni is competing in Triathlons as well as travelling to exotic locations all around the world to surf perfect waves.
“The leg feels good but I am limited with a bit of movement which I have learnt to adjust with,” he said.
“I am stoked to be representing Port Macquarie at the Surftag in Newcastle and I was overwhelmed with the call up when asked to surf by our Vice President Chris Hetherington.
“I am really looking forward to a fun weekend with the boys.”
Bigeni will join Mitch Van Der Veer, Scott Lawrence, Ben Howard and Tom Howard in the Port Macquarie team.
Boardriding Clubs from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Central Coast, Newcastle and Mid North Coast will be looking for a top eight finish in the mens division, and a top three finish in the womens division to guarantee a spot at the Sailor Jerry Surftag Australian Championships being held on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in May.
Round one of the mens division will be held on Saturday with both mens and womens semi finals run on Sunday with the finals scheduled to start at 1pm.
Straight after the mens final, the Beach Hotel will be hosting the Sailor Jerry Surftag after party and presentation.
Clubs will be competing for $3700 in prize money in the mens division and $2200 in the womens at Newcastle, with the mens champions receiving $1500 and womens champions $1000.
The 2017 Sailor Jerry Surftag Australian Series will include Qualifying events at Cronulla, Newcastle and the Gold Coast with the Australian Championships being held on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on May 13 and 14.
Total Series prize money is $60,000 with the mens Australian champions receiving $10,000 and the womens champions $5,000.