Back in 2011, Eric Dargent, a surfer from France, went on a trip to Réunion Island. It’s a common place for French tourists, as Réunion is an overseas department of France, or, as they call it, a département d’outre-mer. When he went surfing at Les Roches Noires, however, the trip took a horrible turn. A shark bit off his left leg, and in an instant, his life changed forever.
“When I was attacked, I wasn’t sure if I would live or die,” Dargent said. “It’s hard to believe but just minutes after the accident I decided if I was to survive I would live my life to the full, do what I love, and truly make the most of my family and friends. It changed my perspective on everything.”
The year before Dargent’s attack, Benoit Moreau was in a forest outside of Biarritz when a tree fell on him. He lost his arm. After such a traumatic injury, it took him a long time to get his life back on track. “It was a difficult period,” he recalled. “I asked myself lots of questions but then finally I did it, I started catching waves again.” After that, the ball started rolling faster and faster. Now, a few years later, he recently won the Adaptive Surfing Championships in Cornwall, England.
Dargent and Moreau met in the French Alps, where they were competing in the World Adaptive Snowboard Championships. They quickly became fast friends, surfing together whenever they can.
Dargent also set up a non-profit called Surfeurs Dargent that supports people with disabilities who want to surf. It has three objectives: “to take people surfing, to develop equipment and prosthesis suitable for surfing, and to communicate to the world that surfing can help people realize they are stronger than they think.”
After he showed interest in Wavegarden’s newest offering, The Cove, Josema Odriozola, Wavegarden’s CEO and Founder, extended an invite. “Watching them ride waves is really impressive,” he said. “They both have a great approach and very high level. And it was great to see them sharing the smaller waves with their friends and family.”