Meet the champion adaptive surfer who overcame life-changing injuries 'against staggering odds'

“I instantly fell in love with it. When I’m in the ocean with my surfboard, nothing else matters.”

Llywelyn Williams started surfing at an early age and competed in an array of local surf competitions, showing great potential.

In September 2011, when Llwelyn was just 16 years old, his entire life drastically changed.

Skateboarding home towards Abersoch, he was hit by a car and suffered life-threatening injuries, including dislocating both hips, a head injury, broken femur, shattered pelvis, punctured lung, perforated bowel and a split liver.

“I was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and the ambulance stopped," Llywelyn said.

"My mam and dad were chasing it and thought: 'Oh no, that’s him… he’s died'."

In hospital, Llywelyn was put in an induced coma in order to save his life - and his leg.

"I lost so much blood, all the muscle was turning to poison," he explained.

"It was killing me. Then they told my parents if they don’t cut off my leg now, it will get to my heart."

Llywelyn pictured in recovery after his leg amputation.

Against staggering odds, Llywelyn overcame his injuries. He accepted the loss of his leg, but rejected the idea of losing all hope.

Due to his tenacious spirit, he was back in the water just two months after the accident.

“My mates carried me down the stairs," Llywelyn recalled.

"I had a body board and they would chuck me into the waves. I still had my old wetsuit then - with both legs - so one was flopping around in the water.

“As the first wave hit me and I came back up, I felt alive again. Surfing is the best.”

Nine years on from the accident, Llewelyn is now one of the best adaptive surfers in the world. In 2018 he struck gold in the English Adaptive Surfing Championship, but most recently his sterling performance saw him come fourth representing Wales in the ISA (International Surfing Association) World Adaptive Championships, held in California.

Llywelyn says surfing made him feel alive again after his horrific accident.

"I went over to Bali and got through to the final and beat the two-time world champion in the kneeling division," Llywelyn said.

Despite riding some of the best waves in the world, the surf in Porth Ceiriad, near Abersoch, remains dear to the North Wales athlete.

Llywelyn added: “In the winter, there is nobody here. You can have perfect waves with only five guys in the water. This place is like heaven.

“Life is so much more than it used to be for me. We take life for granted and when something like this happens to you, you think, wow, this is actually amazing.”

Surfing has officially become an Olympic sport and would have been included in the 2020 Tokyo Games. Llywelyn hopes that adaptive surfing will soon be recognised and included in the 2024 Paris Paralympics.

The 28-year old has set his sights on one day representing Team GB in these prestigious games.

Llywelyn has set his sights on one day competing in the Olympic games.

To discover more coastal stories, tune in to ‘Wonders of the Coast Path’, Mondays at 8.30pm on ITV Cymru Wales. The programme will also be available online at