Sean grew up on the remote beaches of Western Australia where swimming, surfing and fishing is a way of life. After getting his first surfboard at age 8 Sean developed a deep love of riding waves and spending time out in the ocean.
Sean, his mum and two younger brothers moved to Bunbury W.A where at the age of 13 Sean started surfing the breaks around the Margeret river region and attending Bunbury Senior High School which overlooked the magnificent Indian ocean, Sean spent most of his time looking out the classroom window at the breaking waves wishing to be out there, so aged 16 he left school to start an electrical apprenticeship.
Working as an electrician gave Sean the opportunity to save money towards living the surfing lifestyle and travelling the world going on numerous surfing trips to destinations such as Morroco, France, Spain, Portugal and Indonesia.
In october 2014 Sean went on a surfing trip with his girlfriend Claire to Esperance on the south coast of Western Australia. Sean was out surfing on his own at a break called kelpbeds when he was attacked by two great white sharks. He lost his left arm, right hand and suffered deep lacerations to both his left and right legs, in desperate fight for his life Sean managed to body surf a wave in on his back to the shallows.
In a turn of luck a group of people had just arrived at the beach for the day, they banded together along with Claire to provide the critical first aid that Sean needed to save his life. After stabilising in the local Esperance hospital Sean was flown to Royal Perth Hospital where he underwent surgery. It took almost 150 stitches and metal staples to close all of the wounds before the recovery process could begin.
After 5 weeks in hospital Sean returned home to Bunbury and continued occupational therapy learning how to live life using a split hook prosthetic and continued extensive physiotherapy so his legs could make a full recovery. The Bunbury community rallied together, holding "Concert for Polly" to help raise funds for Sean's recovery.
Sean returned to the ocean within 12 months of the attack overcoming the massive mental hurdles of getting back in the water and trying to surf again. After many attempts the physical challenges of surfing proved difficult unable to pop up to his feet or surf the waves he wanted. Nowadays Sean is more likely to go swimming or bodyboarding on trips to the beach.
Not being able to surf led Sean to try snowboarding. Going on a trip with friends in september 2015 to Mt buller Victoria seeing snow for the first time and quickly learning to snowboard. And then to Canada for a three week trip where by chance Sean met the Canadian para-snowboard coach who encouraged Sean to look into the sport.
Sean attended a training camp with the Australian para-snowboard team the following winter learning the skills to compete at a high level. Then it was onto the world stage where in his first season Sean finished 8th in both the SBX and banked slalom world cup standings.
Sean achieved his goals of competing at the Winter Paralympic games in South Korea coming away with a 5th place finish in the banked slalom and a 9th place in the snowboard cross. He is now sharing his story though motivational speaking engagements.
You can follow Sean's adventures on social media.