Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Giving Up Just Isn't an Option

This is a guest post by Natty Cordon, a disabled whitewater kayaker from Bath, England. 

I guess it's not often that people get to achieve their wildest dreams as a result of their worst nightmare. I'm pretty lucky in that respect. 

In 2010, I injured my right leg and my life changed forever. Unable to walk on my leg now, I use elbow crutches to get around. 

Natty having a look at the 70 footer on the Middle Palguin in Chile.

The nightmare for me was seeing people do all of these things that I couldn't do anymore. Up until my accident, I had lived for sports. When that was suddenly taken away, it felt like my body was holding me back from being myself. 

I quickly realized that although I had to learn how to live in a different way, I was still the same person. I needed adventure in my life. I started kayaking. 

My first time paddling on whitewater gave me the sense of adventure and independence I had been longing for. It's hard to me to describe the freedom I feel when I'm on the water. It just feels right. I am no longer defined by my disability. My kayak becomes a part of my body and I can excel.  

Dropping in on the 70 footer on the Middle Palguin.

I didn't realize what I was doing was that different, until people started telling me how inspired they were. I have such an awesome group of paddling friends. I just feel like part of the team. We all help each other to achieve our dreams. I just need a little more help than most people do.

When I first came out of the hospital after my accident, if someone had told me that in a few years time I would be shooting a 70 foot waterfall in Chile and featuring in the same race winners table as Evan Garcia, there's no way I would have believed it. 

I now know that if I whole-heartedly believe in my dreams, anything is possible. 

I can't wait for my next adventure. 

Natty Cordon sustained a life-changing injury in 2010 at the age of 20. Today, she lives for whitewater kayaking, a sport that liberates her from her disability. You can find out more about Natty on her website:

Want to share your story with other paddlers? Email 

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