From an auto-immune disease back into surfing

Surfing always has been my thing. When you catch a wave it is the most magical feeling ever. Last year everything changed in my life and I became very ill. I got bitten by a Zika mosquito and because of the bite I got GBS (auto-immune, muscle, nerve disease). I survived, but I ended up in a wheelchair not knowing if I could ever walk again.. No even thinking about surfing. 

by: Janneke Charlotte de Vries

The last year and a half has been a challenge. This year, on my birthday, I managed to be on a surfboard again.. For the first time! I was not able to stand up, because my muscles were still weak. But I was there in the water and that was all that matters.


This September I went to my favorite island ever! I  Bali. I watched the surfers surf the sunset and it made me so thankful & grateful to be there and to feel alive. The sunsets prove that endings can be beautiful too.

That moment gave me the motivation and the drive to go back on my surfboard again. In Bali I surfed a few times and it was a challenge for me. I managed to catch a few waves though and that felt as such a big achievement. I was so proud of myself. Especially if you think of where I came from.


If I look back to what happened to me it only made me stronger. My experience in Bali gave me the strength and the faith again to continue my surfing career. To keep going and improve my surfing skills. I would like to go to a surfcamp as Tasha’s Surfsafari in Morocco. To continue trusting my body and growing in doing what I love to do most.