While at the Blowsion Surfslam, our own Ronnymac came across Pete McAfee; a fairly new Freeride fanatic welcomed into the fold. Pete is no ordinary Freerider though; he turned some heads with his neon orange prosthetic limb while managing to throw down with the best of them. When I asked Ronny who we should spot light first in our new rider spot light series he instantly replied “Pete McAfee would be a good person to start with I want to know his story”. So, here he is. Ladies and gentlemen, Pete McAfee!
What ski set up do you have?
I’m riding a Waterdawg Kustoms ROK-R with a 701, factory b pipe, Blowsion girdled head and lots of Cold Fusion billet.
How long have you been competing / riding Freeride?
This past year was my second year competing, I’ve been riding surf 3-4 years now.
How did you get into the discipline?
After discovering Blowsion, I went to Surf Slam in 2010 as a spectator. I had never even heard of freeride before that. I was absolutely blown away watching the pros booting huge aerials and aggressive surf riding. I also couldn’t believe how approachable and cool all the competitors were. After that I knew I had to be part of the sport!
What is your greatest achievement while competing?
This past year of competition was a great year for me! I managed to take home trophies from the Grayland Amateur Open Nationals and found my way onto the podium at Surf Slam! I would have to say that my greatest achievement was running head to head against a veteran pro rider and winning the heat! It’s was a feeling that I will never forget.
What is the hardest trick that you have managed to pull off so far and what is the next trick you are going to master?
The hardest trick that I have managed to pull off is the super flip! I definitely don’t have them dialed yet, it’s about 50/50 super flips/ super crashes, but I’m going to master them for 2014!
We can’t help but notice that you have a neon orange prosthetic when riding but that does not seem to hold you back. Can you tell us about what inspired you to get out into the waves and overcome this challenge?
Haha! Glad you noticed! I have dealt with my amputation most of my life and I like to show it off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told I couldn’t do something because of it. A person can only be told “you can’t” so many times before they start believing it, and I was no exception. I guess I got tired of being on the sidelines. I wanted to play. I didn’t care anymore, leg or no leg, I was going to play and I made a it a point to never use my leg as an excuse again. I started riding surf because it looked fun and I wanted to do it, I was inspired to compete because I wanted to change the way people think about disabilities. Instead of seeing an amputee or paraplegic person and thinking “that sucks” or “they can’t”, I want people to think “why aren’t they” and “how can we get them out there”.
I am sure that Freeride would put stress on your prosthetic, is it specially made for your freeride competition?
It is a lot of stress. It isn’t specially made for Freeride, but it is built for extremely active amputees. Its mostly carbon fiber and titanium. Strong, light and won’t rust in the surf. I have broken a few prosthetic feet since I started competing and cracked the socket a couple of times. I’m pretty rough on equipment, but I would rather break carbon than bone. In 2011 I flat landed hard and broke the bone in my stump. They did surgery and put me back together with titanium plates and screws. My prosthetist is currently looking into a new foot design that would offer a lot more shock absorption for riding.
Who / what is your greatest inspiration?
The greatest inspiration in my life would have to be my wife and my daughter. They are my reason for getting out of bed in the morning and I don’t know where I would be without them.
Are there any other sports or hobbies that you do?
Other hobbies and sports… If I’m not jet skiing, I’m snow skiing or riding motorcycles.
What is in store for 2014 for you?
For 2014 I’m pretty much just going to keep honing my skills in the surf and work to promote my sponsors and the sport anyway that I can. I’m really stoked to enter competition in 2014 as a professional freerider!
Do you have any sponsors and is there anything that you would like to add?
Huge thanks to Jeff at Waterdawg Kustomz, John Dady at Blowsion, Carl at Cold Fusion and the guys over at Fiberlay for helping me to achieve my goals over the past couple of years! Thanks Michelle for your time I’m flattered to have been considered by ProRider magazine for an article!