Evan Strong grew up in Maui, Hawaii surfing from a young age. Never wearing a pair of shoes, Evan was easily found down on the beach or in the water surfing. At the age of 11 Evan and his family moved to the other side of the island where the Keopuolani Skate Park was located. Intrigued by this new form of motion Evan gained interest in skateboarding, leading him to put a pair of shoes on and take to the “cement waves” as his mother, Lisa Strong, referred to the skate park as.
At the age of 13 Evan’s skating had progressed to what was clearly his new found passion landing him his first sponsorship from a local skateshop. Motivated by the shop support it didn’t take Evan much longer to decide that he wanted to become a professional skateboarder. It was from that point that he began competing in contests on a regular basis making him even hungrier to excel as a skateboarder. With a few years’ experience and contest winnings under his belt Evan was ready to begin traveling, until his entire life took a turn at the age of 17.
When Evan was turned 17 his sister, Stephanie, received a motorcycle for her 21st birthday. One fateful day he missed his ride to work and needed to borrow the motorcycle. He grabbed the expensive helmet his mom bought along with the motorcycle. A mile from home, Evan was struck by a drunk driver speeding at 65 miles an hour. She crossed over the line into oncoming traffic, striking the car in front of Evan and hitting him head on at full speed. Evan lied on the ground staring at the sky and one of his first thoughts was “Am I going to be able to skate again?” It was three days after his accident that Evan had to have his left leg amputated. One week, 5 surgeries and no certainty that he was going to be able to adaptively recover, Evan told his family that he was going to fight this challenge and skate again.
Two days following his amputation Evan began his physical therapy. Determined to repair his physical condition, Evan continuously reminded himself that he was a skateboarder and an athlete, and that he could not give up what he loved to do so much. “I knew that life was long enough that I would be able to live through this” It wasn’t long that Evan’s family and friends would catch him standing on his skateboard with crutches and no prosthetic, slowly guiding himself down the street. Astounded by his energy and charisma, Evan’s family had a harder time coping with the recovery than he himself did.
Clearly focused on a steady recovery Evan attended his first ever challenge athletes event held by the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) in La Jolla, California. The event introduced Evan to nearly 200 challenged athletes such as himself, inspiring, and strengthening his hope for a fully adaptive recovery. He continued to attend the event every year competing and involving himself with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Associating with fellow amputees it put his outlook on life in a whole new perspective. Evan wanted to not only gain strength from his experience but he wanted to help others that also faced similar physical challenges. It wasn’t long before Evan was mentoring youth and adult amputee in association with Adaptive Action Sports (AAS) and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Through coaching at hosted Skate and Snowboard Camps Evan gained a reputation as a proactive, humble and encouraging person. Sharing his knowledge and experience of the trials faced with amputation, Evan has continually reached out to many facing similar challenges to inspire and give them hope such as he had during his recovery.
Evan is now what he says “more able than ever before” traveling around the world competing as a world class Snowboard and Skateboard athlete, mentoring amputees alike and training for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Forever driven, Evan continues his path of success while balancing his life as a family man, husband and friend to anyone that crosses his path. He considers himself very blessed to still be standing Strong.