A previously shy young man has used the sport of wakeboarding to help him with issues associated with autism.
Mikey Pinder, 31, from West Kirby, found it hard to communicate and interact with others.
Out of curiosity he tried wakeboarding at the Liverpool Wake Park in October 2013. Nearly two and a half years on, the sport has transformed Mikey’s life.
He is fitter, stronger and now enjoys an active social life.
Mikey said: “Wakeboarding is a way to clear my head. I really love it. I use my membership like a gym, and also to swim, any day I want, so I feel really healthy."
Wakeboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Think skateboards on water, with participants propelled across the surface and over floating obstacles by a controlled cable tow.
It took just 12 months for Mikey to feature in a competition: “One year after my first session I made my debut at the Grassroots Tour competition. I was nervous but it was a great experience. I came in ninth place and everyone cheered me.”
Mikey’s progress delighted the staff at the Liverpool Wake Park facility. The team offers support and training to users of all ages and abilities, and Mikey has quickly become a star.
Owner of the wake park experience, Tim Woodhead, said: “The sport is set up to be accessible to all, and the high walls and calm water at the dock allow boarders to pick up skills quickly. But it was fantastic seeing Mikey make so much progress in other areas.”
He added: “Mikey has gained so much belief in his own abilities, and he is now quite the showman. We all thought that making a film would take Mikey to the next level. That process has been a superb learning curve for everyone at the centre.”