Shantal is a Spanish surfer who left her hometown in the Canary Islands and moved to Bali five years ago. She has always been involved in water sports, and her father was a professional windsurfer. Since she was a baby, Shantal would travel around the world with her parents, searching for the perfect wind conditions. She loves the way surfing connects her with her father - although it is not exactly the same as windsurfing, they still feel connected by the ocean. For Shantal, the waters calm her and give her energy - the waters mean the world to her.
Shantal shares her ACL experience
How did you tear your ACL?
It actually didn't happen from surfing. It happened in the silliest way - I was simply going down really steep stairs a bit too fast, landed funny on one step, and then completely lost my stability.
What was the hardest part of the recovery experience?
The hardest part was to actually realize that my knee suffered that injury. I couldn't believe it, and I definitely didn't know how hard and slow was it going to be.
After surgery, the first week was also very painful. I’ve never suffered any pain that lasted that long so I was scared. Not being able to sleep properly made it worse. But then after the second week, everything started to get better and after 4 weeks, when I could walk without crutches, it made me realize how grateful we need to be everyday.
What tips can you share with other athletes going through this injury?
My biggest tip is to calm down, accept the situation, meditate, breathe, be positive and realize that your knee is still there and you need to heal from the INSIDE and outside.
Don't give yourself a strict deadline for getting back to the sport you were doing previously. Just be calm and realize that your knee will be EVEN BETTER than it was before. BETTER than it was before.
Invest in rehab, a sport psychologist, and a good physiotherapist. Last but not least, WILLPOWER is important!
Has this injury changed your perspective in any way?
Yes, it has made me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by family and friends that have helped me throughout the entire recovery process. It helped me become more patient, allowed me the opportunity to read more books, meditate more, and made me love and appreciate surfing even more.
What is your biggest dream after making a full recovery?
It’s not a dream, it’s a reality. Once I am 100% recovered, I will go to Indonesia for four months and surf like there’s no tomorrow (basically what I was doing before my injury!)
Thank you Shantal for sharing your story and helping to inspire athletes across the globe!