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‘Like a needle in a haystack’

After losing prosthesis while surfing, Metcalfe thankful for its recovery

Scooter Metcalfe rides a wave prone style during the finals of the open para division in the 31st annual Vissla / Hi-Tech / Lopez Surfbash on Sunday at Hookipa. While competing, Metcalfe’s prosthetic leg came off and was later recovered by the water safety patrol team. Dayanidhi photos

Special to The Maui News

Scooter Metcalfe has an extra reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

Metcalfe, a left leg amputee, was surfing the open para division at the 31st annual Vissla / Hi-Tech / Lopez Surfbash at Hookipa Beach Park on Sunday. He was catching his second wave in the 20-minute heat when he lost his artificial leg.

“I caught a wave and my leg came off, my prosthetic,” Metcalfe said. “The water got underneath this cuff and then it got pulled like a vacuum.

“Then it was like I’m screwed, these things are pricey. I thought I’m never going to find this, so I paddled to shore.”

Aaron Paulk (visually impaired) won the open para division at the Vissla / Hi-Tech / Lopez Surfbash at Hookipa on Sunday.

After getting to shore, Metcalfe told the water safety patrol team that his leg was somewhere “left of the three surfers.”

Solomon Fernandez drove his Jet Ski to the general area, and D.K. Walsh, with a mask and fins, was able to find the prosthesis.

“How lucky was that?” Metcalfe said. “That’s like a needle in a haystack.”

Metcalfe strapped on his leg, paddled back out, and caught his best wave, a score of 6.33. He stood up on that wave whereas the previous two waves he rode in the prone position.

Aaron Paulk (visually impaired) won the open para title, with Faith Lennox (use of one arm) second. Josh Bogle (double leg amputee) was third, with Metcalfe fourth, and Shawn Lewis (leg amputee) fifth.

“Events like this gives us more goals,” Metcalfe said. “A shoutout to John (Willard), the director, and everyone else that made this happen. You cannot even imagine how much joy it provided disabled people like us. It was joyous even just getting out there in the water.”

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