I started water skiing in 2015 and it has completely changed my life. Skiing gives me the opportunity to leave my disability behind me, and go out on the water and do something that not many people in the world can do. I have dedicated the last 4 years to training in the gym, and traveling the world training and competing. Getting to compete for my country is something I never thought I would be able to do after I was hurt and I couldn’t be more passionate and proud of what the rest of the team and myself accomplish.
My name is Ryan Riehl, I am 34 years old and blind. In spite of having no vision, I am a 3 event water-skier with the Canadian Adaptive Waterski team. I started waterskiing over 10 years ago in Saskatoon, with the guidance and support of coaches David Wassill and Lisa Williams. Despite being blind, this sport has allowed me to participate in a team activity where my disability has given me the ability to be one of the top blind water-skiers in the world. Over the last two years, I have lost my hearing, and have no ability to hear any sound at all. Regardless of this additional limitation, I continue to competitively waterski and proudly represented Canada in the 2019 World Championships in Norway.
I was born and raised in Humboldt Saskatchewan. My whole life I’ve been a super competitive person, always loving competition and having that desire to be the best. I grew up out at a lake just outside Humboldt and we were always on the water, and when I wasn’t on the water I was at the rink. Hockey was my life and I was hoping to make a career out of the sport I loved. But that ended in April 2018 when I was involved in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Since then I’ve put in a lot of work to get strong and healthy to get back being the athlete I was before. But I have a new passion now and that is waterskiing, getting out on the water shortly after my stay in the hospital I instantly fell in love with this sport and knew this is what I wanted to do. Getting the chance to represent Canada at worlds in Norway last year still feels like a dream and I’m ready to wear the maple leaf with pride again in the future.
I have been waterskiing on the National Team since 2012. I was injured in a car accident May 8th, 2010 and am now paralyzed from the chest down. I started skiing just days after the crash. I have done well in my waterski career with numerous medals in National water ski tournaments; gold, silver and bronze combined. I have recently been on the cusp of breaking a Canadian, as well as World record in slalom skiing in the MP2 division. I hold the current Provincial slalom record and set the Canadian trick record this year in Florida. In 2019 I competed alongside my teammates in Norway and brought home some hardware. I am now the current record holder in MP2 in slalom skiing!
My name is Chance Jewell and I am on the Canadian National Adaptive Waterski Team. I grew up on a farm just outside of the small town of Kenaston, Saskatchewan where I attended my K to 12 schooling. Growing up I played many different sports. As a family we spent many summer days at the lake where I developed my love for the water and water sports. That love would lead into competitive water skiing later in life. In February 2006 I was injured in a snowmobile accident which left me an incomplete paraplegic. My world was forever changed. My love for sports remained but my ability to the play them the way I use to had to be improvised. Water skiing has given me the ability to have that competitive edge back in my life that only sport can bring. It also gives me motivation in that aspect of my life where it has been lacking at times. This will be my full second year competing and I am very excited to get back on the water. I currently reside in Saskatoon and farm full time with my family on our farm near Kenaston.
Looking back on the last seven years of water-skiing, I am so thankful for the lifelong friendships, memories and opportunities this sport has given me! I have always enjoyed sport, and was involved in team sports for a long time. When I made the decision to start water-skiing competitively I did not know how I would feel about the individual aspect of it. Little did I know that even though you are on the water by yourself, you have a team behind you, and the community of water-skiing is second to none! Water-skiing has taught me so many life lessons, about who I am and about being a high performance athlete. I have always enjoyed being on the water, spending my time in the summer up at the lake doing whatever water sports my siblings were doing. Water-skiing is one of those things that I am able to do where my disability does not shine through. I am competitive in everything I do, and water-skiing is no exception. I am always working to be better than I was the day before. I have said that no matter how many competitors I face, beating my own personal best is always something I strive for.
I started my competitive waterskiing in 2018 when invited to the team Canada HP training camp. After leaving that camp my goal was to compete for team Canada and my homeland which has been a dream since I was young. Waterskiing has brought a sense of freedom back into my life and a joy that only someone in my position can appreciate. I have had to work and train very hard over the last year to make the team as there are very few quadriplegics of my level that compete in adaptive waterskiing at the World level.