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If you would, go back to the first time you wrapped your hands around a control bar; try to recall those initial timid power strokes pulling you off your feet and that first body drag that taught you the key strokes to maximize the power of your kite. Think about the fine motor control skills employed throughout your body to stay balanced as the kite levered you up and onto your board. Now imagine going through that entire learning process without the use of your legs and with only the muscles in your upper torso at your disposal.

This seemingly impossible task is what former male model, Fernando Fernandes, has overcome as one of the few paraplegic athletes to master kiteboarding. Having grown up in Brazil, Fernando began playing professional soccer at the age of 17, but the lure of male modeling along with its financial incentives brought him into the world of high fashion. After many years of working up the ranks and modeling for big brands including Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana and Abercrombie & Fitch, on the eve of his breakout role in a major fragrance marketing campaign, Fernando fell asleep at the wheel of his car and in the resulting accident, fractured his spine and lost the total use of his legs… To read the rest of the article, become a subscriber of Tkb Magazine.

Tkb’s Vol. 16, No. 4 winter 2019 digital issue is available now. The print issue will be landing in mailboxes soon!