An unlikely start for one of the world’s best snowboarders, Evan Strong grew up surfing the waves of Maui, seldom wearing shoes, let alone snow boots. At age 11, he broke his surfboard and could not afford a new one. A friend gave him an old skateboard, so he took to riding the cement waves and by age 13 he landed his first sponsor. He set his sights on a career as a pro rider. Over the next few years he began to win – and win often; by age 17 he was ready for the professional ranks ... until the accident.
Running late for work one day, he borrowed his sister’s motorcycle and, tragically, was hit head-on at 65 mph by a drunk driver. Three days later his left leg had to be amputated. Evan soon connected with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and drew inspiration for his own recovery from watching fellow amputees accomplish great things in sports. From there he developed his passion to help others faced with similar physical challenges. He has since become a very active mentor of youth and adult amputees in partnership with Adaptive Action Sports (AAS).
Always hungry for a new challenge, Evan grew interested in snowboarding, and made the move to Lake Tahoe to pursue a job at a resort where he found his true passion. Evan has since become one of the most dominant athletes on the adaptive snowboarding circuit. In 2013, he won gold in the pre-Paralympic test event in Sochi, Russia, and went on to win the first-ever gold medal in men’s snowboard cross at the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Evan is currently pursuing a medal in both snowboard cross (SBX) and banked slalom for the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Evan works closely with The Hartford, a Founding Partner of U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, helping to positively change public attitudes and perceptions about disability.
For more information about Evan’s accomplishments, visit Team USA’s website.
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Photo by Joe Kusumoto