Brittany Parker, a river paddling and surf athlete who is often considered a pioneer in the sport of river SUP, was seriously injured this morning when she was using an industrial air compressor to inflate a board. Few details are known at this time, but apparently, the board was over-inflated, and a powerful blast of air came off the valve, throwing her backward the same way an explosive device would. Parker suffered a concussion and blacked out when she hit her head falling back against the ground. According to a GoFundMe page set up to help her pay for expenses, she has air in her skull and brain hemorrhaging.
“She has what’s called a blast injury,” Mike Harvey, co-owner of Badfish SUP, where Parker works as a social media marketing director, told us. “It was kind of like being in the radius of a bomb. The force of air shot back at her, went into her nose and up into her skull. We’re all kind of trying to piece together what happened.”
Harvey says that no one actually witnessed the blast and Parker has no recollection of the accident. The incident happened in Buena Vista, Colorado, and she was taken to a Salida, Colorado hospital and then flown to Denver where further tests are being conducted.
Parker, who also broke her arm, is a regular on the river SUP racing tour, a popular paddling instructor and a talented river surfer. In 2015, along with fellow paddler Heather Jackson, Parker released the film Can I Surf That (below), an inspirational look at river surfing and paddling.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Parker with medical costs.